Studio Ghibli Animation Retrospective Coming to Vancouver

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Studio Ghibli

Stu­dio Ghibli

Between Decem­ber 14 and Jan­u­ary 3, the Vancity The­atre and The Cin­e­math­eque — both located in down­town Van­cou­ver — are co-hosting Cas­tles in the Sky: The Mas­ters of Stu­dio Ghi­bli.

It’s a major ret­ro­spec­tive of films from the world-renowned anime stu­dio Stu­dio Ghi­bli founded in Tokyo in 1985 by direc­tors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Taka­hata and pro­ducer Toshio Suzuki.

Per­fect for tran­scend­ing the win­ter greys, these films prove that Stu­dio Ghi­bli is every bit the equal of any ani­ma­tion stu­dio in the world or in film history.

All Stu­dio Ghi­bli films pre­sented at the Vancity The­atre will be screened in 35mm in the English-language ver­sions. All films at the Cin­e­math­eque will screen in Japanese-language prints with subtitles.

These films are open to all ages. Princess Mononoke is clas­si­fied 14A; all other titles are rated G or PG. The Vancity The­atre offers a spe­cial rate of $7 for youth under 19.

Tonari No Totoro (My Neigh­bor Totoro)
“Best Ani­mated Film of All Time”- Time Out Mag­a­zine
“When­ever I watch it, I smile, and smile, and smile” — Roger Ebert
Fri­day, Decem­ber 14, 6:30 p.m.; Fri­day, Decem­ber 21, 5 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 23, 3:50 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 24, 2 p.m.; Fri­day, Decem­ber 28, 2 p.m.
Japan, 1988, 35mm, 86 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voiced by Dakota and Elle Fan­ning, Tim Daly
Two lit­tle girls and their father move into a beau­ti­ful old house in the coun­try­side to be near their mother, who is seri­ously ill in hos­pi­tal. Largely left to fend for them­selves, Mei and her big sis­ter Sat­suki encounter a strange and beau­ti­ful world of for­est sprites named “Totoros.” Miyazaki’s most beloved film is sim­ply mag­i­cal and mag­i­cally simple.

Kaze No Tani No Naushika (Nau­si­caä of the Val­ley of Wind)
“A joy to watch.”- New York Times
Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 15, 3 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 16, 4 p.m.
Japan, 1984, 35mm, 117 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazake
Voice cast includes Ali­son Lohman, Shia LaBeouf, Edward James Olmos, Chris Saran­don
Miyazaki’s first film as writer-director (based on his own suc­cess­ful manga) is an extrad­i­nar­ily rich fan­tasy film, an eco-allegory set in a feu­dal, toxic future and a spir­ited adven­ture movie. Led by the coura­geous Princess Nau­si­caa, the peo­ple of the Val­ley of the Wind are engaged in a per­pet­ual con­flict with pow­er­ful insects called “ohmu,” guardians of a poi­so­nous (and spread­ing) jungle.

Sen To Chi­hiro No Kamikakushi (Spir­ited Away)
Enchanted and enchant­ing… fast and funny; weird and won­der­ful. Mostly won­der­ful.” — Peter Brad­shaw, The Guardian
Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 15, 5:20 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 17, 6:30 p.m.; Thurs­day, Decem­ber 20, 5:30 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 31, 2 p.m.
Japan, 2001, 35mm, 125 min., Eng­lish, Clas­si­fi­ca­tion: PG
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Dav­eigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, David Ogden Stiers, Michael Chik­lis, John Ratzen­berger
Chi­hiro and her par­ents are en route to a new home when they drive through a mys­te­ri­ous tun­nel and enter a deserted town. When her folks start gorg­ing on food and trans­form into a pair of pigs, Chi­hiro dis­cov­ers this place is not quite as empty as she had imag­ined. This is a place of spir­its, gods, mon­sters and witches.
“Picks up a res­o­nance, weight and com­plex­ity that makes it all but Shake­spearean.… No other word for it: a mas­ter­piece.” — Tony Rayns, Time Out
SIX STARS (excep­tion must be made for the excep­tional). Spir­ited Away is a feast of won­der­ment, a movie clas­sic and a joy that will enrich your exis­tence until you too are spir­ited away. I don’t expect ever to love a film more.” — Nigel Andrews, Finan­cial Times

Gake No Ue No Ponyo (Ponyo On The Cliff)
“You’ll be plan­ning to see Ponyo twice before you’ve fin­ished see­ing it once.… It offers up unfor­get­table images [..] images that use the logic of dreams to make the deep­est pos­si­ble con­nec­tion to our emo­tions, and to our souls.”- Ken­neth Turan, NPR
Sun­day, Decem­ber 16, 2 p.m.; Wednes­day Decem­ber 19, 6:30 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 24, 3:45 p.m.; Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 29, 4:15 p.m.
Japan, 2008, 35mm, 101 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Cate Blanchett, Liam Nee­son, Matt Damon
Miyazaki’s strange and beguil­ing fan­tasy film about a sea spirit – it’s an odd eco fable about the ter­ri­ble power of the sea, but illus­trated with such beauty and imag­i­na­tion it trans­ports us entirely into another world. Rated G, this is suit­able for chil­dren of all ages.
“Miyazaki knows the secret lan­guage of chil­dren; he dives deep into the pool of child­hood dreams and fears and, through his ani­magic, takes chil­dren down to where they can breathe, and feel, and be free.” — Richard Corliss, Time

Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke)
“Com­plex, superbly ren­dered, and wildly eccen­tric — even by Miyazaki’s own stan­dards.”- J Hober­man, Vil­lage Voice
Sun­day, Decem­ber 16, 6:15 p.m.; Tue. Decem­ber 18, 6:30 p.m.
Japan, 1997, 35mm, 134 min., Eng­lish, Clas­si­fi­ca­tion: 14A
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Billy Crudup, Billy Bob Thorn­ton, Min­nie Dri­ver, Claire Danes, Gillian Ander­son.
Set dur­ing the Muro­machi Period (1333–1568) of Japan, Princess Mononoke is the tale of a mys­ti­cal fight between humans and the Ani­mal Gods of the for­est. Aimed at a slightly older audi­ence than most Ghi­bli fare (it is clas­si­fied 14A), this epic folk tale shows the influ­ence of Akira Kuro­sawa (a Miyazaki fan him­self) and of John Ford, too. The film was the most suc­cess­ful ever at the Japan­ese box office (prior to Titanic), and named the film of the year in Japan’s equiv­a­lent to the Acad­emy Awards.
“A sym­phony of action and images, a thrilling epic of war­riors and mon­sters, for­est crea­tures and mag­i­cal spells, with an under­ly­ing alle­gory about the rela­tion­ship of man and nature.” — Roger Ebert

Tenkû No Shiro Rapyuta (Cas­tle in the Sky)
“Fre­quently astound­ing.” — Richard Har­ring­ton, Wash­ing­ton Post
Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 22, 12 noon; Sun­day, Decem­ber 23, 5:45 p.m.
Japan, 1986, 35mm, 124 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Anna Paquin, James Van Der Beek, Cloris Leach­man
An island in the sky? The story of a young boy who sees a girl float­ing down from the sky. He comes to her aid in her flight from sky pirates, the army and secret agents. An adven­ture story influ­enced by Trea­sure Island and Gulliver’s Trav­els, Cas­tle in the Sky is dynamic, imag­i­na­tive fam­ily enter­tain­ment with valu­able lessons about tech­nol­ogy and ignorance.

Kure­nai No Buta (Porco Rosso)
“Smooshes fan­tasy and his­tory into a pastel-pretty yarn as irre­sistible as his fem­i­nism.” — Jean­nette Cat­soulis, New York Times
Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 22, 4:10 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 23, 2 p.m.
Japan, 1992, 35mm, 94 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Michael Keaton, Cary Elwes, Susan Egan, David Ogden Stiers
Pigs will fly! This cock­eyed trib­ute to Humphrey Bog­art and Ernest Hem­ing­way fea­tures an anti-fascist flier (who hap­pens to look like a pig) track­ing sky pirates over the Adri­atic in the 1930s. An exhil­a­rat­ing romp with a melan­choly under­tow — and amaz­ing fly­ing machines!
“Teems with Miyazaki’s per­sonal pas­sions [..] ren­dered with the utmost detail and beauty. As stir­ring as Casablanca, and as sophis­ti­cated as Only Angels Have Wings, it’s a sub­lime chival­ric fable.” Nick Brad­shaw, Time Out

Majo No Takkyûbin (Kiki’s Deliv­ery Ser­vice)
“Aston­ish­ing in its visual splen­dor and delight­fully enter­tain­ing, this mag­i­cal fam­ily film about a lit­tle witch-in-training, from Japan’s cel­e­brated ani­ma­tor Hayao Miyazaki, is not to be missed.” — Los Ange­les Times
Wednes­day, Decem­ber 26, 2 p.m.; Wednes­day, Jan­u­ary 2, 4:15 p.m.; Thurs­day, Jan­u­ary 3, 2 p.m.
Japan, 1989, 35mm, 103 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Kirsten Dunst, Deb­bie Reynolds, Phil Hart­man, Janeane Garo­falo
In keep­ing with tra­di­tion, 13-year-old witch Kiki dusts off her broom and flies away from home for a year of inde­pen­dence and self-discovery in the big city. Her only com­pan­ion is her beloved black cat, Jiji.

Hauru No Ugoku Shiro (Howl’s Mov­ing Cas­tle)
“A stun­ning exam­ple of a pure, dis­ori­ent­ing dream logic that cin­ema pro­vides all too rarely.”- Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
Thurs­day, Decem­ber 27, 4:30 p.m.; Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 29, 2 p.m.
Japan, 2004, 35mm, 119 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Cast: Voices: Chris­t­ian Bale, Lau­ren Bacall, Blythe Dan­ner, Emily Mor­timer, Jean Sim­mons
Teenager Sophie is cursed by the Witch of Waste and finds her­self trapped in the body of an old woman, and is unable to tell her mother or any­one else what has hap­pened. She finds help of sorts with the wiz­ard Howl, liv­ing as a ser­vant in his aston­ish­ing walk­ing cas­tle. Sophie is an inno­cent who must prove her resource­ful­ness, courage and con­vic­tion in a bewil­der­ing, alien world.

Hei­sei Tanuki Gassen Pom­poko (The Rac­coon War)
“Pom­poko is a delight­ful, often uproar­i­ously funny film, at once child­ishly irrev­er­ent and thought­fully mature. Being a Ghi­bli work, it is beau­ti­fully ren­dered and tech­ni­cally impec­ca­ble, with a great num­ber of mem­o­rable set pieces.”- Tom Mes, Mid­night Eye
Thurs­day, Decem­ber 27, 2:15 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 30, 3:30 p.m.
Japan, 1994, 35mm, 119 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Isao Taka­hata
Voices: Jonathan Tay­lor Thomas, Clancy Brown, JK Sim­mons
Imag­ine Water­ship Down, Stu­dio Ghibli-style. Instead of rab­bits, we have rac­coons. And not just any rac­coons — these crit­ters have mag­i­cal pow­ers of trans­for­ma­tion. As their habi­tat is stripped and paved by the encroach­ing humans, the good-natured but rather undis­ci­plined for­est crea­tures embark on a cam­paign of dis­rup­tion and distraction.

Neko No Ongaeshi (The Cat Returns)
“An enchant­ing, mag­i­cal fable with a twisted vein of sur­re­al­ism.” — Neil Smith, BBC
Fri­day, Decem­ber 28, 3:45 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 30, 5:45 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 31, 4:20 p.m.
Japan, 2002, 35mm, 75 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hiroyuki Morita
Voices: Anne Hath­away, Cary Elwes, Judy Greer, Elliot Gould, Tim Curry
School­girl Haru bravely saves a cat’s life — and finds her­self sum­moned to the King­dom of the Cats for her pains, where she is to become the wife of the Cat Prince! When she refuses, she starts sprout­ing whiskers and furry ears.… What’s a girl to do?

Mimi O Sumaseba (Whis­per of the Heart)
“A beau­ti­ful film.” — David Jenk­ins, Time Out
Wednes­day, Janu­rary 2, 2 p.m.; Thurs­day, Jan­u­ary 3, 4 p.m.
Japan, 1995, 35mm, 111 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Yoshi­fumi Kondo
Voices: Brit­tany Snow, Cary Elwes, David Gal­lagher, Court­ney Thorne Smith
A lovely change of pace from Stu­dio Ghi­bli, this is a teenage first-love story, set in a real­is­ti­cally observed mod­ern day Tokyo. Book­ish school­girl Shizuku meets her soul mate with a lit­tle help from a portly cat.

Call the Film Info Line at (604) 683-FILM (3456) for the lat­est info and listings.

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