Isao Takahata remains Japan – and indeed, one of the world’s greatest living filmmakers. One half of the famed Studio Ghibli he co-founded with his renowned partner, Hayao Miyazaki, Takahata has preserved – unlike the much more prolific Hayao – a rather measured, even leisurely pace at which he finishes films. As a result, while his filmography is not elaborate or extensive, it is permeated by titles of rare feeling: a preference for depth, over breadth. The month-long retrospective presented by Lightcube Film Society at Perch covered Takahata’s major achievements, a couple of his lesser known films and finally, the film that influenced him to become an animator.
November 6, 2016
The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) | Isao Takahata | 137’
Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her - but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime.
November 13, 2016
Pom Poko (1994) | Isao Takahata | 119’
As the human city development encroaches on the raccoon population's forest and meadow habitat, the raccoons find themselves faced with the very real possibility of extinction. In response, the raccoons engage in a desperate struggle to stop the construction and preserve their home.
November 27, 2016
My Neighbour Totoro (1988) | Hayao Miyazaki | 86’
Simplistic yet undeniably adorable and filled with a sense of fun and adventure, Miyazaki’s My NeighbourTotoro is an outstanding piece of animation. Its runtime of 86 minutes is not too overwhelming, and in that time span, manages to convey the joy and beauty of childhood.
Grave of the Fireflies (1988) | Isao Takahata | 89’
In the latter part of World War II, a boy and his sister, orphaned when their mother is killed in the firebombing of Tokyo, are left to survive on their own in what remains of civilian life in Japan. The plot follows this boy and his sister as they do their best to survive in the Japanese countryside, battling hunger, prejudice, and pride in their own quiet, personal battle.