Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her, but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime.
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An old man makes a living by selling bamboo. One day, he finds a princess in a bamboo. The princess is only the size of a finger. Her name is Kaguya. When Kaguya grows up, 5 men from prestigious families propose to her. Kaguya asks the men to find memorable marriage gifts for her, but the 5 men are unable to find what Kaguya wants. Then, the Emperor of Japan proposes to her.Written by
The movie's budget was estimated at 5 Billion Yen (US$49.3 million) making this film the most expensive Japanese film produced. See more »
While the baby princess crawls to the cutter she tosses a piece of bamboo to the edge of the floor mat. In the reverse shot as she crawls back, it is missing. See more »
The Princess Kaguya:
Go round, come round, come round... come round, oh distant time. Come round, call back my heart. Come round, call back my heart. Birds, bugs, beasts, grass, trees, flowers. Teach me how to feel. If i hear that you pine for me, i will return to you.
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The Tale of Princess Kaguya was certainly a story that I was fully intrigued with. Because of its limited release in theaters, it wasn't easy trying to find it, but when I finally caught it at a local art house theater, I was further interested in the story that had yet to unfold. Since it was based on the centuries-old Japanese folktale, I know it has been told differently many times by various writers in literature, theater, even film. Nevertheless, I had to check out Studio Ghibli's take on the classic story.
It's about an elder bamboo cutter named Okina who discovers a young, tiny girl in a bamboo shoot and decides to adopt her as his own along with his loving wife Ona. As years progress, the tiny girl begins to grow rapidly to normal size like the other children of their village, eventually having to leave since her adoptive parents decide to have her raised among the nobles. From there, she is given the name "Princess Kaguya" and things become further complicated when so much is offered to her so suddenly.
When comparing this movie to past Studio Ghibli efforts, it's obvious that the animation style is nothing like its preceding films. And with studio founder Hayao Miyazaki having stepped down and no involvement with this current project, I have to say it's a drastic, yet vibrant change in what Studio Ghibli is widely known for. I loved the story and it had an ending that was rather heartwarming and enough to tug anyone's heartstrings. With the English dub voice of Kaguya done gracefully by Chloe Grace-Moretz (Let Me In, Carrie, If I Stay), she actually stands out well as the title character, like it wasn't forced.
The animation technique was rather intricate, but it was reminiscent of an old Japanese art painting I've once studied about in Art History classes at my local college. American animation studios have believed traditional 2-D to be a dying art form in the film industry these days, but I can tell Japan does not acknowledge it in that way at all, whether it's TV or film. The concept I started believing for the entire film felt like "a timeless painting" and it's quite a stroke of genius, in my opinion.
The music and underscore of Joe Hisaishi has left me engaged that it flows evenly well with the scenes as they play out. But most notably, director Isao Takahata really stepped up following his involvements with titles like "Kiki's Delivery Service," "My Neighbor The Yamadas," and even the touching "Grave of the Fireflies." This entire movie has earned its rightful place in the Studio Ghibli library. This is another example of a Ghibli film where you don't have to be an avid Japanese Anime fan to enjoy it, what matters is that such themes existed in various genres, not just in one medium or one genre alone.
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