The latest, superbly animated classic from Studio Ghibli’s Miyazaki Goro is the tender 60s tale of schoolgirl Umi and her dashing friend Shun. Completely charming, Poppy Hill does not reserve its many treasures for children alone.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2012
The latest classic from Studio Ghibli is the tender story of schoolgirl Umi, her dashing friend Shun and how they find the courage to follow their inner convictions – not least the growing conviction that they like each other very much. Umi’s sea-captain father was the victim of a mine in the Korean War, but every day she still raises the flags that once welcomed him back into harbour. Her mother is away on work and Umi’s time is taken up looking after the family boarding house and taking care of others, especially her impossibly silly little sister. Shun’s father runs a tugboat and Shun often wonders about that girl with the flag. Editor of the school newspaper, he’s running a campaign to save the school’s old dunger of a clubhouse.
Originally conceived by Miyazaki Hayao from a 1980 manga but now realised with an ineffably light touch by his son Goro (Tales from Earthsea), Poppy Hill is also a lyrical, wonderfully detailed evocation of its setting, Japan in 1963. Even baby boomers who never set foot there may find something familiar in its vision of the time when the impending Tokyo Olympics signalled Japan’s secure place in the modern world and the Kyu Sakamoto pop song ‘Sukiyaki’ was an international hit. Like any Ghibli film, Poppy Hill does not reserve its many treasures for children alone. — BG
“Miyazaki Goro never lets the melodrama take over… The passion to save the clubhouse reflects a need to treasure the past while at the same time embracing the future. The same could be said of the animation here: it’s a gem of classical 2D imagery that stands out in a world turned upside down by the digital revolution.” — Mike Goodridge, Screendaily