(Update: This video has since been removed from Youtube. Sorry.)
Alright, this is the last of it, I swear! Hah. We never know how long we have these movies available, so it's best to strike fast.
Gauche the Cellist is one of my favorite Isao Takahata films. I'd probably rank it just after Omohide Poro Poro and Horus, Prince of the Sun. It's a magnificent little picture, quiet and peaceful, full of the details of daily life.
This also happens to be one of the great movie about the transcendent power of music. I can't think of a better movie where music plays such a vital role (no, Sound of Music and West Side Story never did it for me). Where did Takahata get inspired to draw together a beloved children's poem (by Japanese poet Kenji Miyazawa) and Beethoven's Pastorale? Perhaps he saw Beethoven as the thread that links together the different worlds.
Gauche has never been released in North America. Studio Ghibli wisely secured the DVD rights last year, releasing a new 2-disc set on the Ghibli ga Ippai label. That means, I suppose, that Disney could have the option of releasing it here in the States. That's certainly a no-brainer, a smart decision that everyone would love. Which means it will never happen.
I still don't understand this. Disney should have established a seperate Ghibli line, just like in Japan. This would enable them to import all those other films in addition to the features. Ghibli ga Ippai Short Short, for instance, or Yanagawa Waterways. Gauche is perfect for that. Heck, the suits have spend the money for these DVDs already, why not just translate the text and make a couple bucks more?
For the rest of us, then, importing remains our only option. If you're a real fan, then you're doing this already. But it will be nice when we finally do away with all this region-coded nonsense and have global digital distribution. Smart businesspeople should be getting in on the ground floor right now. That's the future.
Anyway, I don't want to spoil anything for you, so enjoy this wonderful movie. Happy New Year's 2008!