Vancouver Hosts Major Studio Ghibli Animation Retrospective

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Studio Ghibli

Stu­dio Ghibli

The Cin­e­math­eque and the Vancity The­atre, both located in down­town Van­cou­ver, are co-hosting a major ret­ro­spec­tive of the films of Stu­dio Ghi­bli, the world-renowned anime stu­dio founded in Tokyo in 1985 by ani­ma­tion direc­tors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Taka­hata and pro­ducer Toshio Suzuki.

The Cin­e­math­eque pre­sen­ta­tion includes two rare titles –  Omo­hide Poro Poro (Only Yes­ter­day) and Umi Ga Kikoeru (Ocean Waves) never released in North Amer­ica before. All Ghi­bli films (with the excep­tion of The Ocean Waves) will be pre­sented in new 35mm prints.

Cas­tles in the Sky: Miyazaki, Taka­hata, and the Mas­ters of Stu­dio Ghi­bli runs from Decem­ber 7 to 9, 12 to 17, 22 to 23 and 26 to 30, as well as Jan­u­ary 2 to 3.

Fre­quently referred to as the Dis­ney of Japan, Stu­dio Ghi­bli (pro­nounced “jib-lee” or “gee-buh-lee”) is known for star­tlingly orig­i­nal ani­mated fea­ture films that com­bine daz­zling visual vir­tu­os­ity, vivid char­ac­ter­i­za­tions and epic sto­ry­telling. These include some of the most mag­i­cal, most beloved ani­mated movies ever made, includ­ing Cas­tle in the Sky, My Neigh­bour Totoro, Kiki’s Deliv­ery Ser­vice, Princess Mononoke, Spir­ited Away and Howl’s Mov­ing Cas­tle.

Ghibli’s warm, intel­li­gent, poetic films, often full of great flights of fancy that bor­row from fairy­tale, folk­lore and sci­ence fic­tion, are always grounded in a deeply-felt human­ism that embraces fam­ily and com­mu­nity and believes in essen­tial human good­ness (despite con­sid­er­able evi­dence of human folly), and in a deep con­cern for the envi­ron­ment and our rela­tion­ship with nature. They typ­i­cally fea­ture strong female pro­tag­o­nists. Ghi­bli films, it is also worth not­ing, are still pri­mar­ily (and lov­ingly) crafted the tra­di­tional way, through the labor-intensive, hand-drawn, frame-by-frame tech­nique of cel animation.

Here’s what’s scheduled:

Kaze No Tani No Naushika (Nau­si­caä of the Val­ley of Wind)
Miyazaki’s debut is con­sid­ered by many to be his mas­ter­work. There are few films, ani­mated or oth­er­wise, of such sweep­ing scope and grandeur.

Tenkû No Shiro Rapyuta (Cas­tle in the Sky)
Miyazaki’s first Stu­dio Ghi­bli fea­ture is this beau­ti­ful, exhil­a­rat­ing eco-fantasy adven­ture of a young boy and girl search­ing for a long-lost float­ing island in the sky.

Majo No Takkyûbin (Kiki’s Deliv­ery Ser­vice)
Kiki is a young witch-in-training; her best friend is Jiji, a chatty, wise­crack­ing black cat in this beau­ti­ful, time­less and beloved story of a young girl find­ing her way in the world.

Umi Ga Kikoeru (Ocean Waves)
RARE GHIBLI! Rarely seen out­side of Japan — never released in North Amer­ica in any for­mat — this sub­tle, poignant story of ado­les­cence and teenage iso­la­tion is a true discovery.

Tonari No Totoro (My Neigh­bor Totoro)
Miyazaki’s most endear­ing, most beloved and most iconic film tells the touch­ing tale of two sis­ters who dis­cover a for­est full of spir­its and mag­i­cal crea­tures next to their new home.

Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke)
Miyazaki’s epic story of con­flict between humans, gods and nature is a land­mark of ani­ma­tion and a film of unsur­passed power and beauty with an envi­ron­men­tal message.

Hauru No Ugoku Shiro (Howl’s Mov­ing Cas­tle)
When a shy teenager is cursed by the jeal­ous Witch of the Waste, she seeks refuge with a hand­some wiz­ard named Howl in his mag­i­cal mov­ing cas­tle while they fight to lift the spell.

Sen To Chi­hiro No Kamikakushi (Spir­ited Away)
This Acad­emy Award-winning film was Japan’s biggest box-office hit of all time, and cemented Miyazaki’s rep­u­ta­tion as an icon of inspired ani­ma­tion and won­drous, lyri­cal storytelling.

Mimi O Sumaseba (Whis­per of the Heart)
A visu­ally stun­ning won­der about the awak­en­ing of cre­ative tal­ent, this is the sole fea­ture directed by Miyazaki’s pro­tégé Yoshi­fumi Kondô before his sud­den death at the age of 47.

Neko No Ongaeshi (The Cat Returns)
Walk­ing home after a dreary day at school, Haru saves a cat from being hit by a speed­ing truck. Lit­tle does she know that she is about to be plunged into into a fan­tas­ti­cal feline world…

Hei­sei Tanuki Gassen Pom­poko (The Rac­coon War)
The for­est home of the decep­tively cud­dly tanuki — a group of mag­i­cal raccoon-like crea­tures — is threat­ened by the con­struc­tion of a new sub­urb. Now, they must fight to save it.

Kure­nai No Buta (Porco Rosso)
This trib­ute to early avi­a­tion is set between the World Wars in Fas­cist Italy, where fly­ing ace Marco — cursed with the head of a pig — and beau­ti­ful Fio are cat­a­pulted into high-flying conflict.

Omo­hide Poro Poro (Only Yes­ter­day)
RARE GHIBLI! Never released in North Amer­ica, this tale of self-discovery may delve deeper into the real emo­tional expe­ri­ences of women than any ani­mated film before or since.

Hôhokekyo Tonari No Yamadâkun (My Neigh­bors the Yamadas)
This delight­fully off­beat, rarely-seen gem was the first Ghi­bli film to be cre­ated entirely on com­put­ers in order to achieve its soft water­color look.

All Ghi­bli films pre­sented at The Cin­e­math­eque will screen in the orig­i­nal Japanese-language ver­sions with Eng­lish subtitles.

All Ghi­bli films pre­sented at the Vancity The­atre will screen in the English-dubbed versions.

All ages are wel­come! The Cin­e­math­eque wel­comes all ages to this family-friendly pre­sen­ta­tion of the films of Stu­dio Ghi­bli. All films in the series are rated G or PG (with the excep­tion of Princess Mononoke and The Ocean Waves, which are 14A — under 14 requires adult accompaniment).

Remem­ber that all The Cinematheque’s Ghi­bli screen­ings are in Japan­ese with Eng­lish sub­ti­tles! Mem­ber­ship is required for those 18 or over.

Pacific Ciné­math­èque is grate­ful to Dave Jesteadt and GKIDS (New York) and Tom Char­ity of Vancity The­atre (Van­cou­ver) for their great assis­tance in mak­ing this pre­sen­ta­tion pos­si­ble. Pro­gram notes are by (or adapted from) GKIDS, except where oth­er­wise noted.

For links to the indi­vid­ual films and their show­times, visit

Scene from Umi Ga Kikoeru (Ocean Waves), never released in North Amer­ica the­atri­cally or on any home view­ing format.

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About Mr. Clevland

MrClevland has been a cartoon fan since, well, infancy. He has been writing nearly that long. Opinionated, yes, but backed with a wealth of personal knowledge on the subject. You can give r. C a piece of your mind here.

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