This weekend, the Studio Ghibli Film Festival at the Minneapolis Lagoon Cinema kicks off its second week with the Hayao Miyazaki's classics: My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, and Porco Rosso. Totoro will appear in Japanese and English versions, while Kiki and Porco are both in Japanese, w/subtitles.
My Neighbor Totoro is easily the star of the show. It's the iconic Studio Ghibli movie, and if you've only come to the festival for one or two movies, Totoro is likely on your list. My advice? Buy your tickets early, because they're going to sell out fast. The English-language version will definitely be packed with the younger kids, but parents should feel fine bringing the family to the Japanese (English subtitled) version as well. The subtitles are large enough that it's easy to read. Besides, we've all seen Totoro a thousand times by now.
Kiki's Delivery Service gets less attention than Totoro, but I think it's an equally great movie, continuing its pastoral sense of daily life, and painted in wonderful shades of green. It's the rare coming-of-age story that focuses equally on what is lost (childhood) on the path to adolescence. Miyazaki is honest with his audience, and I really respect that. I don't know if the subtitles are true subtitles, or the dreaded "dub-titles" that we've been stuck with for years. The key will be whether there's a Hindenberg gag line ("Oh, the humanity"). That line's not in the Japanese script.
Porco Rosso is my personal favorite of the three; I've seen the others on the big screen before, so we'll probably see this one on Sunday. For a long time, this was my "go-to" movie for introducing newcomers to Hayao Miyazaki. Here is a film with action and adventure, romance and nostalgia, slapstick comedy and melodrama, and many peaceful, quiet moments. This is far closer to an animated Casablanca than Star Wars, and I do respect the film for not assaulting me with endless fight scenes. The characters and their internal dramas take center stage. It's Miyazaki's Mid-Life Crisis movie.
As always, here are the trailers for you to watch, so you can decide which movies to attend. Obviously, if you have the money, see them all, but remember that this week includes Princess Mononoke, Mimi wo Sumaseba and Omohide Poro Poro. Could we play all these movies for another few weeks, please?
daniel thomas Categories: film festivals, kiki's delivery service, my neighbor totoro, porco rosso