Screened as part of NZIFF 2014

The Tale of The Princess Kaguya 2013

Kaguya-hime no monogatari

Directed by Takahata Isao Big Nights

Hot on the heels of Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises comes another animated masterpiece. Studio Ghibli co-founder Takahata’s rich and astonishing swansong vividly brings an ancient Japanese folktale to life.

Japan In Japanese with English subtitles
137 minutes CinemaScope / DCP



Nishimura Yoshiaki


Takahata Isao
Sakaguchi Riko
Based on the Japanese folktale “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter”

Animation director

Tanabe Osamu


Joe Hisaishi


Asakura Aki
Kora Kengo
Chii Takeo
Miyamoto Nobuko
Takahata Atsuko
Tabata Tomoko
Shinosuke Tatekawa


Cannes (Directors’ Fortnight) 2014


Eight years in the making and hot on the heels of Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises, Studio Ghibli co-founder Takahata’s adaptation of a centuries old Japanese folktale proves to be an equally remarkable farewell film by another master of Japanese animation.

Beautifully animated in a hand-drawn storybook style, the film takes us into a timeless world where a humble bamboo cutter finds a miniature doll-like princess tucked inside a bamboo shoot. He quickly returns home to share the discovery with his wife, but both are shocked when the little princess is suddenly transformed into a wailing baby. The couple adopt the child as their own and when gifts of gold and fine silks are found in the forest they decide they must abandon their pastoral lifestyle so that they can raise their young girl to be a proper princess.

“Takahata’s film… looks like an ancient scroll-painting come to life: its characters, sketched in charcoal, crackle with expressive energy, while loose, vivid ink-strokes become dappled sunlight, bursting blossoms and falling snow. In one astonishing sequence, as beautiful and imaginative as anything Ghibli has yet created, a character fleeing a palace becomes nothing much more distinct than a flutter of red fabric, surrounded by an expressionistic whirl of snowy hillsides and tangled trees… This is a rich and astonishing swansong for Takahata, whose love of mischief and tender, expressionistic style have been essential steering forces at Studio Ghibli.” — Robbie Collin, The Telegraph