This genial, illuminating and delightfully observant documentary takes us behind the scenes at the great Japanese animation studio over the year that Miyazaki was completing The Wind Rises and Takahata Princess Kaguya.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2014
This visit to Studio Ghibli proves gratifyingly akin to the pleasure of watching the films produced there. The place even looks like a Miyazaki movie, with its ship windows, all-knowing cat and rooftop billowing lawn. Miyazaki Hayao himself is working on his allegedly final film, The Wind Rises. The studio where he personally storyboards the entire film, and where his dedicated team draw each frame by hand, is cluttered, open and conspicuously lacking any new technologies. Meanwhile, across town, Ghibli’s other maestro Takahata Isao is dragging the chain on his latest opus, The Tale of Princess Kaguya. Their producer and Ghibli co-founder Suzuki Toshio shuttles between the two, managing their distinct approaches with obvious love and a shrewd appreciation of what he’s up against. Relationships among these three men lie at the heart of this creative enterprise, and director Sunada Mami traces Ghibli’s evolution accordingly. Miyazaki himself is irresistible company, impish one moment, melancholic the next – notably when contemplating the meanings of The Wind Rises. His insistence on traditional decorum proves no impediment to spiky candour. He’s one completely captivating genius.