Review:「風立ちぬ」(Kaze Tachinu/The Wind Rises)

kaze 28
Year: 2013
Country:
Japan
Language: Japanese, some German and Italian
Director: Miyazaki Hayao
Studio:
Studio Ghibli
Screenplay: Miyazaki Hayao
Art Direction: Takeshige Youji
Animation Direction:
Kousaka Kitaro
Soundscore: Hisaishi Joe
Theme Song: 
ひこうき雲 (“Hikōki Gumo”/”Contrail”) by Yumi Matsutoya
Cast: Anno Hideaki, Takimoto Miori, Nishijima Hidetoshi, Nishimura Masahiko, Steve Alpert, Kazama Morio, Takeshita Keiko, Shida Mirai, Kunimura Jun, Otake Shinobu, Mansai Nomura
Runtime: 126 min
Distribution: Studio Canal (UK)
Film’s official website: http://www.kazetachinu.jp (日本語),
Trailer:

Special thanks to Studio Canal for an invite to a press screening of Kaze Tachinu prior to its UK release. I also attended the BFI Preview Screening of the film on April 23. Both screenings were subtitled, I have not seen (nor do I intend to) the dubbed version. The film is now showing in select UK cinemas (from May 9, 2014). 
Kaze Tachinu, Miyazaki Hayao’s apparent swan song, comes with a certain kind of echo of「長州ファイブ」(Chōshū faibu/Chosyu Five)in which a group of young, ambitious men – who later become the founding fathers of modern Japan – seek technological knowledge and progress abroad but soon realise that they, and their nation, are years and years behind. Like these men, Horikoshi Jiro (Anno Hideaki), the hero of Miyazaki’s film, desires to know and create for the sake of knowing and creating, although, several decades on from the Choysu Five, he now envies the Germans, not the English, for their advanced know-how. Continue reading “Review:「風立ちぬ」(Kaze Tachinu/The Wind Rises)”

Ghibli-Docu:「夢と狂気の王国」(Yume to Kyōki no Ōkoku/The Kingdom of Dreams & Madness)

ghibli docu While the founders and rocks of Studio Ghibli – Miyazaki Hayao and Takahata Isao – were busy working away on their films「風立ちぬ」(Kaze Tachinu/The Wind Rises) and「かぐや姫の物語」(Kaguya Hime no Monogatari/Princess Kaguya) respectively, Sunada Mami had her camera on them to make the first documentary on the animation studio: 「夢と狂気の王国」(Yume to Kyōki no Ōkoku/The Kingdom of Dreams & Madness, Japan, 2013). Continue reading “Ghibli-Docu:「夢と狂気の王国」(Yume to Kyōki no Ōkoku/The Kingdom of Dreams & Madness)”

Review: The Whole Hog Theatre’s「もののけ姫」(Princess Mononoke) Stage Adaptation

All images © Clare Boone of Whole Hog Theatre.
All images © Polly Clare Boone of Whole Hog Theatre.

Year: 2013
Country:
UK
Language: English
Director: Alexandra Rutter
Company:
Whole Hog Theatre
Adaptation from:
「もののけ姫」(Mononoke Hime/Princess Mononoke, Japan, 1997)
Screenplay: not specified on programme or website
Concept arts and set design: Polly Clare Boon
Puppet design: Charlie Hoare
Soundscore: Hisaishi Joe, arranged by Kerrin Tatman for the play
Cast: James Blake-Butler, Lilith Brew, Adam Cridland, Oliver Davis, Andy Elkington, Jack Gyll, Jackie Lam, Amelie Leroy, Mei Mac, Miyake Yuriko, Jess Neale, Maximilian Troy Tyler, Victoria Watson, Samuel Wightman, Elizabeth Mary Williams
Runtime: approx. 130 min (including 20 min intermission)
Official website: http://www.wholehogtheatre.com (London performances),
http://www.princess-mononoke.jp
(Tokyo performances – 日本語)

Seen during the play’s first run at the New Diorama Theatre in London. I attended the Friday evening performance. Further Princess Mononoke performances are scheduled for Tokyo (April 29 – May 6, 2013) and London (June 18-29, 2013). London tickets are sold out. 

Note: I provide no synopsis of the story here – this review presumes you are familiar with Miyazaki Hayao’s film already and hence is also full of spoilers.

How does one even begin to imagine a stage adaptation of an animated film of the calibre of「もののけ姫」(Mononoke Hime/Princess Mononoke, Japan, 1997), made by the masters of Studio Ghibli and well loved the world round? It is not a challenge that most – even those with plenty of experience and unlimited budgets – would want to take on, but the Whole Hog Theatre, a young performance company from Leamington Spa, England, with only a handful productions (Dangerous Liaisons, Constanzo and Five Kinds of Silence) to their name, was undaunted by the task and simply went ahead anyway. Continue reading “Review: The Whole Hog Theatre’s「もののけ姫」(Princess Mononoke) Stage Adaptation”