City Screen in York are marking the release of The Wind Rises, Hayao Miyazaki’s final film before retirement with a six-film series in honour of the great Japanese filmmaker. Starting on the 12th with My Neighbour Totoro, they will then screen five other Miyazaki greats, including perhaps his greatest film Spirited Away, every Monday until Ponyo in the final week.
Totoro, released in 1989, is the tale of two young girls who discover that beside their house is a forest that harbours the fantastical Totoros, creatures that the girls come to love and take solace in while their mother is ill. It’s a touching tale that deals with the realities of life and revels in its own sentimentality, definitely one for Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli fans in general who haven’t checked out his older work.
The 19th then sees Porco Rosso hit the screen, a film often described as harbouring many of the qualities that Miyazaki is renowned for. Funny and poignant, it is most definitely the creative predecessor of The Wind Rises and addresses Miyazaki’s enjoyment and fascination with flight and planes. Princess Mononoke, screened the following week, continues in its footsteps as a leading animation with breathtaking visuals that still stand up against most films today and maintains his trademark style.
And then there’s Spirited Away. The dreamlike tale of a well-to-do 10 year old and his interaction with the Land of the Spirits is perhaps the best known and often the most lauded of Miyazaki’s great filmography. It’s a treat to behold and is definitely worth seeing on the big screen if you never have.
The season ends with screenings of Howl’s Moving Castle, another insanely popular Miyazaki hit, and the aforementioned Ponyo. Be sure to catch the celebrations and appreciate a master film-maker at work in his own wonderfully formed oeuvre.