Eastern Kicks Asks: "The Film that Started It All"

crouching tiger
Childhood memories & global success story: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Recently Andrew Heskins of Eastern Kicks asked a number of critics, film bloggers and friends about “the film that started it all” – i.e. their passion for Asian cinema:

It might not have been the first Asian film you saw, or even the best, but was there one that stood out? That light bulb moment when you realised how much you loved Asian movies and had to write/talk/blog/podcast about it?

Continue reading “Eastern Kicks Asks: "The Film that Started It All"”

Where Marnie Was

marnie windmill
The story of When Marnie Was There is set in a little town by the name of Little Overton, a fictional town inspired by a real place – Burnham Overy Staithe on the Norfolk coast. Although Studio Ghibli announced that this setting was going to be changed to a village in Hokkaido in their adaptation, some friends and I still wanted to seek out Marnie’s original home base – just because we are dedicated enough Ghibli fans and because it is more fun to explore the UK by traveling to random places instead of completing the usual checklist of famous sights for foreigners. Continue reading “Where Marnie Was”

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)”

Book Review: When Marnie Was There & Musings on the Studio Ghibli Adaptation-to-Come

When Marnie Was There header Original Language: English
Year: 1967
Author:
Joan Robinson
Publisher: Collins
Place of Publication: London
Genre: Children’s novel
Edition: Collins Modern Classics (2002 edition, second-hand copy)
Other Editions and Translations: No other editions are currently in print in English. The book has apparently been translated into several languages, although I can only confirm that there is a Japanese version (「思い出のマーニー」) as well as a German one (Damals mit Marnie).
Update: If you are UK-based, you can now purchase a Kindle version of When Marnie Was There on amazon.co.uk. Elsewhere, you’ll still have to seek out second-hand copies of the book.
 
When Studio Ghibli announced earlier this month that its next project was to be an adaptation of Joan G. Robinson’s When Marnie Was There, with Yonebayashi Hiromasa directing, I quickly – after reading unequivocally raving reviews – searched for a copy. First published in 1967 to “great success” (283) and even featuring in BBC children’s programme Jackanory in the 1970s, a few decades on When Marnie Was There had all but disappeared, remaining a precious memory for people who had loved the book as children but could no longer find it anywhere. Continue reading “Book Review: When Marnie Was There & Musings on the Studio Ghibli Adaptation-to-Come”

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)”