CONTENTS Page 4 5-8
Editorial When Marnie Was Here Upon being sent to live with relatives in the countryside, an emotionally distant adolescent girl becomes obsessed with an abandoned mansion and infatuated with a girl who lives there – a girl who may or may not be real.
The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness A rare fly-on-the-wall look at the inner workings of one of the world’s most enigmatic and successful animation studios – Studio Ghibli.
Spirited Away The story of Chihiro, a headstrong 10-year-old-girl, unhappy that her family are moving house and that she will have to make new friends.
The Tale of Princess Kaguya When an aging bamboo cutter finds a tiny girl in a glowing stalk of bamboo he and his wife decide to raise her as their daughter. Growing at a rapid rate, she soon becomes an enchanting and beautiful young lady, but beneath the magic, she holds a secret that will affect the lives of all those she encounters and everything she claims to love.
The Wind Rises A look at the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War 2.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Tomboyish 17 year-old Makoto gains the ability to leap backward through time after an accident in her high school chemistry lab and she immediately sets about improving her grades and preventing personal mishaps. But even innocuous changes can have terrible consequences.
29 30 31 32
Redistribution Mile End Chasing Robert Barker The Darkess Universe The Tale of Princess Kaguya The Wind Rises
PHOTO CREDITS: Studio Canal: 1,2,5,7,8,9,11,12,17,19,20,21,23,24,31,32. El Film: 13,15,16,25,27,28. Protest Productions 29. Detour East Films: 29. Pegasus Pictures: 30. Acknowledgements We would like to thank the following for their invaluable help: Asa Martin of Studio Canal Amanda Ramasawmy of Studio Canal John Scrafton of Emfoundation Stuart Haggis at East End Film Festival
EDITORIAL Hello film lovers once again and welcome to the 39th issue of Movies by Mills which is devoted to the world’s greatest animation company – Studio Ghibli. We review five of its feature films including our cover feature When Marnie Was Here, plus Spirited Away, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, The Wind Rises and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, co-produced with several companies including Studio Ghibli. Studio Ghibli’s films are unique in that they are all handdrawn and there is no CGI. It is managed by its founders: Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki. The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness is a documentary and our review gives you an insight into the studio and the dexterity of its filmmakers. You will see them working on two films simultaneously: The Wind Rises and The Tales of Princess Kaguya. Miyazaki has said that When Marnie Was Here will be his last film but he has announced his intention to retire several times before, so hopefully his retirement will be short and he will make another film. Some readers unfamiliar with Japanese anime films might think they are just for children, but though they are made for them, they are equally enjoyed by adults the world over. Studio Ghibli will still continue to make films, though because of the increasing costs their next one has been a coproduction. The Red Turtle was premiered at Cannes in May and it has already received glowing reviews as being another masterpiece. The film of course will be reviewed in MbM when it receives a UK distributor. The East End Film Festival opened on the 23rd June and we are reviewing four of the festival’s films: Redistribution, Mile End, Chasing Robert Barker and The Darkest Universe. So once again we offer you a fun-filled magazine that will hopefully entice you to watch the films reviewed at your favourite arthouse cinema and as always experience the magic of films, which Hayao Miyazaki described as being “The Grand Hobby”. Enjoy the read
Brian Mills Magazine Editor
Paul Ridler Magazine Designer
WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi Voices: Sara Takatsuki. Kasumi Arimura. Nanako Matsushima. Susumu Terajima. Toshi Negishi. Ryoko Moriyama. Kazuko Yoshiyuki. In this world there is an invisible magic circle. There is an inside and an outside….and I’m outside. - Anna I came out of this film touched by the relationship of Anna and Marnie and sad that I may have seen the last film ever from Studio Ghlibli. Anna, an asthmatic tomboyish twelve-year, is sent to stay with her foster mother in a village by the sea, after a short spell in hospital. She is a lonely shy girl with a gift of drawing. Her reclusiveness is self-afflicted and partly due to her unwillingness to make friends. But at her new home, she comes to love the landscape and the view from the window of the room she has inherited from a grown-up daughter. In the village by the sea, Anna notices an old mansion facing the marsh. It seems so familiar to her and she wonders why. It has been vacant for years and is known by locals as The Marsh House. She finds herself inexplicably drawn to it. Soon she is even dreaming about it, and in those dreams she sees a mysterious blonde girl staring out from a blue window. One night, after an argument with a school student during a festival, Anna runs off and finds herself standing across the marsh from The Marsh House. I’m like just what I am. Moody, unpleasant. I hate myself. Stressed with pain and sadness, she cries. That is when the mysterious blonde girl from her dreams appears before her. Promise me we’ll remain a secret. Forever, says the girl, who calls herself Marnie. Anna comes to admire the beautiful and glamorous Marnie, and begins spending her days with her. For Anna, Marnie becomes the one person she can truly open up to, while Anna also learns about Marnie’s own painful secrets. Anna is then determined to help Marnie. One day, amidst heavy rainfall and thunder, the two head off for a silo on the cliff to help Marnie overcome her fear. Yet suddenly, Marnie vanishes without trace.
Studio Ghibli brings you a story of two girls who discover a precious treasure somewhere beyond their loneliness. In 2013 Hayao Miyazaki, after Studio Ghibli had released the director’s The Wind Rises, he announced his retirement from feature animation filmmaking. When Marnie Was There marks a new beginning for Studio Ghibli’s the first feature without any involvement by either Isao Takahata, director of The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, or Hayao Miyazaki. Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who previously directed The Secret World of Arietty, completed the screenplay and storyboards for When Marnie Was There on his own after 18 long months before beginning production on the film. For Yonebayashi it was imperative that he not only used what he had learned from Hayao Miyazaki but also that he take on new challenges. He chose as his supervising animator Masashi Ando, who worked in the same capacity on Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away and was considered one of Japan’s top animators when he left Studio Ghibli due to creative differences with Miyazaki. So thirteen years later Ando is back for “Marnie”. For Studio Ghibli’s first dual heroine film, at Yonebayashi’s insistence some 300 hopefuls auditioned in late 2013. Sara Takatsuki was cast as the protagonist Anna, while Kasumi Arimura was selected to voice the mysterious Marnie. The adults who watch the two girls are played by a stellar cast of some of the most prominent actors in Japan. The film’s music is composed by the brilliant Takatsugu Muramatsu, who has already scored numerous films and TV dramas in his young career. The music by Muramatsu – who had admired Joe Hisaishi and dreamt of scoring a Studio Ghibli film – captures the ebb and flow in Anna’s heart, bringing tremendous emotional impact and courage to the audience. In addition, Fine On The Outside, a song by Priscilla Ahn – a Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter – was selected as the film’s theme song. Ahn had written the song nine years ago when thinking back to her middle school days. When Yonebayashi heard it, he declared “Anna existed inside Priscilla. I was destined to find this song,” and decided to use it as originally written, including its original English lyrics, a first for Studio Ghibli. And Studio Ghibli’s future? Hand-drawn animation is ever more expensive and risky to make, especially not outsourced to cheaper countries. The studio’s next feature is a collaboration with Europe’s Wild Bunch studio – The Red Turtle directed by Dutch filmmaker Michael Dudok de Wit. It is Studio Ghibli’s first international co-production.
A lantern-lit stairway in When Marnie Was There.
Marnie in When Marnie Was There.
Anna and Marnie in When Marnie Was There.
Marnie and Anna in When Marnie Was There.
THE KINGDOM OF DREAMS AND MADNESS Directed by Mami Sunada. Featuring: Hayao Miyazaki. Toshio Suzuki. Isao Takahata. The notion that one’s goal in life is to be happy, that your own happiness is the goal, I just don’t buy it. Because…what do you think? - Hayao Miyazaki Sanada’s documentary on the famous Japanese Studio Ghibli, makers of the greatest hand-painted animated films in the world is as insightful as it is inspirational. What interests Sanada are the 400 men and women who work at Studio Ghibli, the company’s roaming cat Ushiko, the stuffed toy goats which hold pride and place at Hayao Miyazaki’s home, memories of the TV series Heidi, and kept because he couldn’t bear to see them sitting in storage, and the building itself? Her camera tracks a montage of details: the staircase, the meadow outside, the yellow flowers and the industrial landscape on the horizon, a Totoro cuckoo clock and a basket bearing the sign – “lots of used pencils here, please use them.”
You enter this world of magic as an excited eavesdropper or not at all, as a notice on a wall recommends: “Please quit if you 1: Have no ideas. 2: Always rely on others. 3: Shirk responsibility. 4: Lack enthusiasm.” It is Miyazaki, the creative director and one of the four founders of Studio Ghibli that the documentary mainly concentrates on. Ghibli is named after the dust-carrying North African fierce wind of the desert that is said to influence your state of mind.
Miyazaki loves routine and is a strict disciplinarian. We follow him through the corridors, dressed in a white apron with small creatures embroidered on a single low pocket. He arrives at 11.am and stops working precisely 9.pm and never takes a vacation or a Saturday off. On Sundays, he goes to clean the river. There are frequent Radio Calisthenics’ breaks throughout the day. In the evening, he and his team go to the roof of the building and look at the sky as a daily ritual. 9 www.moviesbymills.com
A Miyazaki film begins with storyboards; there are no scripts, and production begins over a year before the storyboards finish. With stopwatch in hand, he pictures how each shot will play out, then tries to pin down these images on the page, to be redrawn, coloured and animated by his team. Nobody knows how the film will end. While he draws his images for a sequence of The Wind Rises, with parts of the Paul Valery poem glued on the page, the film writes itself, he says. The film offers his sound and valuable insights into the background and personal dimension of The Wind Rises; People who design airplanes and machines, no matter how much they believe what they do is good, the winds of time eventually turn them into tools of industrial civilization. They’re cursed dreams. The Master tries to pass on twentieth century etiquette to the kids inking The Wind Rises’ fuselage; outside, blossom falls and commercial pressures mount, oblivious to the exacting, timeintensive work required to conjure such committed images from scratch. The studio is also known for its strict “no edits” policy in licensing their films abroad due to Nausicaa of the Valley being heavily edited for the film’s release in the United States as Warriors of the Wind. The “no cuts” policy was highlighted when Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein suggested editing Princess Mononoke to make it more marketable. A Studio Ghibli producer is rumoured to have sent an authentic Japanese sword with a simple message: “No cuts”. On Sunday, September 1, 2013, Hayao Miyazaki held a press conference in Venice to confirm that he would be retiring. I know I’ve said I would retire many times in the past. Many of you must think, “Once again.” But this time I am quite serious. When Marnie Was There was announced that it would be Studio Ghibli’s last film because of the huge costs involved in making further productions of anime, it seemingly marked the end of the greatest animation company in the world, but since that announcement Studio Ghibli have made their first co-production film with Wild Bunch and it premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival to the delight of anime fans everywhere.
The Red Tortoise will be Studio Ghibli’s first co-production and will be without dialogue. It follows the major life stages of a castaway on a deserted tropical island populated by turtles, crabs and birds. It premiered at Cannes to an enthusiastic response. The animated film is directed by Michael Dudok de Witt. No UK distributor at present.
Hayao Miyazaki and Mami Sunada in The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness.
Hayao Miyazaki painting in The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness.
Hayao Miyazaki drawing in The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness.
Toshio Suzuki and Hayao Miyazaki In The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness. 12
SPIRITED AWAY * Spoiler Alert *
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki Voices of: Rumi Hiiragi. Miyu Irino. Mari Nasuki. Takashi Naito. Yasuko Sawaguchi. Tatsuya Gshuin. A mysterious town awaits on the other side of the tunnel. Dad, it’s creepy, let’s go back! Chihiro
While moving to a new town, 10 year-old Chihiro (voice of Rumi Hiiragi) is complaining and unhappy as she sits in the back seat of her parent’s car as they drive to a house that they want to examine. Suddenly her father admits that he is lost as he takes a turning that ends at the entrance to a tunnel. Investigating further, they find it leads to an abandoned amusement park. But at dusk, some of the shops seem to have reopened, particularly a food shop whose aroma fills the air. Her parents rush into the store and are soon feasting upon the heavily food-laden tables, eating as much as they can, while Chihiro watches but refuses to eat anything saying that she isn’t hungry. Her parents eat so much that they double in size. The amusement park leads to a gigantic floating bathhouse. A friendly boy Haku (Miyu Irino) tells Chihiro that she and her parents are in danger and must leave immediately. She rushes to the eatery and finds that her parents have turned into pigs! Haku finds her and tells her that everyone must have a job, and sends her to Kamaji (Bunta Sugawara), an old bearded man with eight elongated legs, who runs the boiler room. He and a young girl advise her to apply to Yubaba (Mari Natsuki) who owns the bathhouse. Yubaba is fearsome and gruesome and exhales plumes of smoke and cackles crazily. She places Chihiro under a spell and takes away her name and gives her a new one – Sen. Unless she can get her old name back again, she can never leave. The only way to save herself and her parents is to get a job in the bathhouse. She must convince Yubaba that she must employ her. One space opens into another in the bathhouse, whose population is a limitless variety of bizarre creatures: little fuzzy black balls with two eyes, (who steal Sen’s shoes), semi-transparent No-Faces, who wear masks over their ghostly shrouds, three disembodied heads who hop about looking angry. There is also a malodorous heap of black slime which is a river creature whose body has sopped up piles of pollution.
Shape-shifting takes place here, and the boy Haku who first befriended Chihiro is revealed as a sea dragon with fierce fangs. Sen continues on her way through this world, befriended by some, shunned by others, threatened by Yubaba. She wins our affection by her pluck and determination. She becomes determined to regain her name and return to the mainland on a daily train and find her parents. The film probably contains more different kinds of beings than we have ever seen before due to Miyazaki’s limitless imagination. There is a scene where Chihiro and her companion get off a train in the middle of a swamp. In the distant forest they see a light approaching. It turns out to be an old-fashioned light pole that is hopping along on one foot. It bows to them, turns and lights the way on the path they must take. When they arrive at the college, it dutifully hangs itself above the gate. The living-light pole is another magical moment that Miyazaki has given to us. Miyazaki captured movie lover’s hearts with Spirited Away, and he and the incredible Studio Ghibli team continue to do so. His beautifully hand-drawn visuals generally depict children inspiring and influencing adults as Chihiro/Sen, the heroine of this film does. He has said that the heroine of this story was written for a ten-year-old girl. Children’s souls are the inheritors of historical memory from previous generations, he has said. In common with many animators, he began his work assisting in a series of animated TV shows and films before his first feature in 1979 Arsene Lupin and the Castle of Cagliostro. He then crossed paths with director Isao Takahata and following the success Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds, the two co-founded Studio Ghibli, an outlet for directors to create animated films of both a personal and independent nature. As in Spirited Away, he creates intelligent films of fantastic worlds which are free from the cloying characters and patronizing tone of so many mainstream animated features: his films appeal to both children and adults alike, simple enough for the former to enjoy yet complex enough for the latter to appreciate on a different level. Spirited Away is in many ways Miyazaki’s Alice in Wonderland. The writer-director’s hand-drawn-scenes burst with vibrancy and invention, and he takes advantage of the fantastical story to devise dozens of unique spirits and creatures that roam this world of utterly inscrutable rules and impenetrable logic. Giant babies throw destructive temper tantrums. Evil spirits offer gifts of gold as bait before devouring everything in sight. Characters change shapes and even personalities with no warning: Haku appears alternatively as a boy, a dragon, and a river spirit. Chihiro reacts to these creatures first with confusion then with fear and ultimately with courage. She soon realizes that she must master this strange world if she ever hopes to get home, and just as the spirits she encounters change her outlook on life, so does Chihiro affect the behaviour of the spirits. A film for the child in all of us.
Chihiro in Spirited Away.
The shops in the amusement park in Spirited Away.
Haku and Chihiro in Spirited Away.
Chihiro and No-Face in Spirited Away.
THE TALE OF PRINCESS KAGUYA * Spoiler Alert *
Directed by Isao Takahata Voices of: Aki Asakura. Kengo Kora. Takeo Chii. Atsuko Takahata. I have heard the rumours about her. They say she is very beautiful. - A prospective suitor.
Based on the book “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter”, this screen adaptation brilliantly conveys the essence of a fantasy that appeals to children and adults but with an underlying message that will resonate with anyone who may have sometimes felt that they are not of this world. The Tale of Princess Kaguya is not a happily-ever-after Walt Disney fairy tale where a poor damsel meets and marries her charming prince, rather it is about a young girl sent from the moon to live among humans to atone for a sin, but is unaware of where she came from. One day a poor bamboo farmer discovers a new shoot that shines brightly from within. What he sees is a tiny yawning infant that fits in the palm of his hand. He takes the beautiful doll-like child home to his wife and the couple decide to raise her as their own. The old bamboo cutter and his wife soon learn of the baby girl’s special powers as she grows at an accelerated rate, learning to crawl, walk and run in a matter of minutes. She has a strong affinity with nature and creatures and seems at her happiest when among them. Soon she is playing with some of the boys who live in the neighbouring area and is nicknamed ‘Little Bamboo’. Sutemara, a slightly older boy, is entranced by Little Bamboo as she runs and plays and laughs in the pastoral paradise and starts singing a song about the nature of all living beings, a song she can’t remember having learned but which she’s always known. When her adoptive father finds a bamboo tree that magically dispenses gold and the finest silk cloth, the new-found wealth motivates him to move his tiny family to Tokyo to find a life befitting his adopted daughter. This means of course that she must leave the relationship she has formed with Sutemara and the simple life that she loves behind. The old bamboo cutter sees a new life for all of them and employs a private tutor to teach Kaguya, Princess Kaguya, as she is now to be called, the etiquette of a princess. All she really wants is solitude, but her mystery and beauty becomes known far and wide, drawing the attention of the Emperor and five noble suitors, each of whom she sets
an impossible task for them in order to gain her hand in marriage. In the following years they return, each believing they have achieved the task Princess Kaguya had set them. Isao Takahata, now 80 years old, has forged his own path over the course of fifty years work. He is a legendary perfectionist, the co-founder of Studio Ghibli with Hayao Miyazaki, creating an animated feature completely lacking in any ‘fantastic’ element, the tender Only Yesterday in 1991. In The Tale of Princess Kaguya he has made a film that is very simple and head-spinningly confounding, a thing of endless visual beauty that seems to partake in a kind of pictorial minimalism but finds staggering possibilities for beautiful variation within its modality. It is a true work of art – a masterpiece of artistic dexterity. The colours are pastel and watercolour; the drawing resembles charcoal sketches. One scene particularly wields astonishing power, the filmmaker changes from pastel lyricism to impressionistic jagged blacks and reds as Kaguya flees her home. The film has a theme that is emotionally two-minded: wanting Kaguya’s unfettered spirit to have its way, but it also recognizes the almost primordial obligation that binds us to family and convention, but it does not stop her from standing up to her dad. If I see you in a courtier’s cap I’ll kill myself. Kaguya’s father believes that what he is putting her through is for her own happiness. And of course when Kaguya finds out where she is from, things take on a more jarring turn. The inevitable melancholic ending of The Tale of Princess Kaguya produces a beautifully emotional song which sums up Kaguya’s feelings.
When I Remember My Life The joy I felt when I touched you Went deep, deep down And seeped into Every nook and cranny of this body Even if I’m far away And no longer understand anything Even when the time comes For this life to end
Steadily in my heart The flames of passion give light And softly soothe my pain Down to the depths of my grief
Everything of now Is everything of the past We’ll meet again I’m sure In some nostalgic place
Everything of now Is everything of the past We’ll meet again I’m sure In some nostalgic place
The warmth you gave me Deep, deep down Comes to me now, complete From a time long past
Everything now Is hope for the future I’ll remember, I’m sure When I remember this life
Everything now Is hope for the future I’ll remember, I’m sure In some nostalgic place
A tiny yawning infant in the Bamboo Cutterâ€™s hand in The Tale of Princess Kaguya.
Kaguya in The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Kaguya in The Tale of Princess Kaguya.
Kaguya and Sutemara in The Tale of Princess Kaguya.
THE WIND RISES Directed by Hayao Miyazaki Voices of: Hideaki Anno. Hidetoshi Nishijima. Miori Takimoto. Masahiko Nishimura. Mansai Nomura. Inspiration unlocks the future.
Jiro Horikoshi on a fateful train ride dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes, inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Giovanni Battista Caprioni. Near sighted from a young age and unable to be a pilot, Jiro joins a major Japanese engineering company in 1927 and becomes one of the world’s most innovative and accomplished airplane designers. The film chronicles much of Jiro’s life, depicting key historical events, including the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, the Great Depression, the tuberculosis epidemic and Japan’s entering into war. Jiro meets and falls in love with Naoko, and grows and cherishes his friendship with his colleague Honjo who voices sentiments of Japan’s cultural inferiority and longing for German efficiency, wealth and tobacco, Jiro tries to keep out of it, lost in a world of his own dreams and calculations. The Wind Rises (title taken from Paul Valery’s poem “The Graveyard By The Sea): The wind is rising…we must try to live, is really a love story. Jiro meets Naoko on a fateful train journey, when a gust of wind carries his hat away for her to catch. A second meeting, years later, mirrors the scene and the same wise and playful wind lifts away her parasol in the mountains for him to catch and return the initial interception.
There is a beautiful tender moment which shows Jiro working while holding Naoko’s hand, it perfectly expresses their relationship better than any dialogue could do. Their initial courtship is conducted by Jiro with paper airplanes which he launches toward her balcony. Despite Naoko’s fragility, she suffers from tuberculosis from which she is trying to recover by going
to a sanatorium, they wed to the approval of her father. The sanatorium scenes were based on Thomas Mann’s novel “The Magic Mountain” and a German character named Castorp and a visualization of Mann’s description of the art of wrapping yourself in a camel-hair blanket on the balcony, find their way into the film. For Naoko, Jiro is her hero: saving her from the 1923 Tokyo earthquake and subsequent fires that ravaged the city. But he is to regret the time away from her where his work and following his engineering dream took preference over their relationship. Subsequently Jiro travels to Europe and is witness to Hitler’s Germany, providing a brief foretaste of Japan’s near-future. The concern for the rise of fascism in his own country comes close to home, with Jiro having to hide to avoid arrest by the police having muttered several less than patriotic comments. It is the same pacifist ideals that influenced Japan to go to war. Jiro is a kind man who realizes his shortcomings and has him instantly travelling back to be at Naoko’s side when she is ill. He also supports and encourages his little sister to be a doctor. And he is there at the earthquake helping as many injured as he can; an earthquake which starts with quivering pebbles, growling that sounds like an awakened beast; fire clouds puking pollution. It is the same man who will build aircraft which will all be destroyed. And the same man who can be inspired by a fish bone to design an aeroplane’s wing. Such protagonists filled Miyazaki’s dreams like the dreams of Jiro, resulting in films of the calibre of The Wind Rises and will gracefully fly through our heads to land smoothly in our memories forever. Such is the magic of Hayaeo Miyazaki: the master animator.
THE STORYBOARD OF KAZE TACHINU (THE WIND RISES) All the storyboards were drawn and painted by the director Hayaeo Miyazaki. Storyboards are read and captioned, complete with a lexicon of commonly used language in the animation industry like “Fix” (meaning a locked camera shot), “Pan” “T.U“(track up) etc. More often than not the empty spaces beside the panels are replete with additional information describing a particular action happening in the scene, often for the animator’s benefit. Miyazaki-san often draws and paints beyond the confines of the storyboard panel, again to give the reader of the storyboard a more expansive view. Miyazaki’s storyboards often have little doodles and mini comics often drawn to motivate himself or just for the sake of fun. The director’s alter ego is a bespectacled pig. *After the first screening of the film, director Hayao Miyazaki said it was the first time he ever cried during the screening of his own movie. 22
Jiro and Naoko in The Wind Rises.
Caprioni and Jiro in The Wind Rises.
Naoko in The Wind Rises.
Jiro in The Wind Rises.
THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME * Spoiler Alert *
Directed by Mamoru Hosoda Voices of: Riisa Maka. Takuya Ishida. Mitsutaka Itakura. Yuri…You know, I…have something I couldn’t tell you. - Makoto What is it? - Yuri I…like Chiaki. Sorry. - Makoto I see… That’s what I thought. I passed him on my way here. Go. (Makoto nods) Makoto! Time waits for no one. - Yuri Scatterbrained and tomboyish Makoto Konno is having a bad day: she sleeps through her alarm, arrives late at school, somehow manages to makes her tampura blow up at home, but worst of all is when her brakes fail on her bike causing her to fly over a barrier and into the path of an oncoming train. Miraculously, just before it hits her, she finds that it is a couple of minutes in the past. According to her aunt, she has had a “time leapt” which apparently is not uncommon. Despite her scepticism, she tries to repeat the phenomenon. When she does, she finds she is able to undo much of her bad day, but not without complications, especially in regards to her best friends, Kousuke, baseball-loving Chiaki; whom everyone but Makoto knows has a huge crush on her, and soft spoken Yuri who is fond of Chiaki herself. The underlining personal question the film asks is what would do if you had the ability to go back into time and make changes for the better. Makoto uses her new found abilities for her own good and influence the outcome of her friends’ relationships and even her own. Lessons are learnt and the most important is taught: do your very best and live every moment as if it were your last and never be shy or wimpy to tell someone how you really feel about them. Sometimes all it takes to fall in love is the guts to try, says Kazuko. The indelible message that is repeated over and over again through the film is of course Time waits for no one. Though the film may at first seem to be made for children, it is a magical tale for adults yet one that captures the feelings and confusion of a teenager better than most. Makoto is brash, filled with self-doubts, intimidated by the thought of having to choose her academic vocation, goes from joyfully
cackling to stunned silence in the blink of an eye, is habitually late and panics and is always running or chasing something or someone but mainly her dreams, and her hair is always unmanageable but….she is a very intelligent girl and one you cannot help but like…even when she sounds a little crazy… If today..If today were a normal day, there wouldn’t have been any problems. But…I’d forgotten that today was an extremely unlucky day. It’s crazy…but I’m going to die. This is it. If I had known, I would have slept in. Wouldn’t have been late. Done a better job on my tempura. Avoid being knocked over by stupid boys. And today was supposed to be a NICE day. While Chiaki shares with Makoto a very personal moment in time. There was a painting I desperately wanted to see. No matter how far away it was or what sort of place it was in. No matter how dangerous. I wanted to see it. Unfortunately in my time the painting had already been destroyed and before these times its whereabouts were unknown. The only place where there was an accurate record of it was in this present era, in this place. It was here, in this season. All I needed was to see it. I was going to remember it for the rest of my life. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time was released to a small number of theatres in Japan, taking in approximately 300 million yen (3 million dollars). The film wasn’t advertised as frequently as other animation features from 2006 such as Tales from Earthsea, but word of mouth and glowing reviews generated interest. At theatre Shinjuku for days in a row, film-goers would fill the theatre, some even standing to watch the film. Following this, distribution company Kadokawa Herald Pictures took unprecedented measures to increase the number of theatres showing the film across Japan, and sent the film to several international film festivals. When Makoto learns through a text message that Kosuke is going to borrow her bike, he enters 7-2-4 while pronouncing Ma-ka-to on the cycle lock. Those figures refer to the numbers of the rank of those syllables in the Japanese script: Ma=7, Ko=2, To=4. The background piano music when Makoto leaps through time is from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations. The film was the first recipient of the newly formed Animation Award in the Japanese Academy Awards. Do see the original Japanese version with English subtitles for authenticity and not the dubbed one. Mamoru Hosoda has created a visual delight with simply drawn out characters against a background of beautifully detailed artwork and the film is equal to those productions from the Studio Ghibli Collection.
Yuri and Makoto in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.
Makoto in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.
Makoto in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.
Makoto in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.
REDISTRIBUTORS Directed by Adrian Tanner Starring: James Allen. Alexandra Evans. Tim Bentinck. Nathan Barreto. Robert Boulton. I think this girl’s our mole. The leak came from her computer. - Nathan A promising first feature debut from director Adrian Tanner. The film is well edited and beautifully shot and falls between the genres of thriller and suspense drama. It tells of modern day do-gooders who hack the tax accounts of the rich to spread around to more deserving causes, set off by a city PR girl, Liz (Alexandra Evans) who unwittingly gets involved in a cover up when she takes home a file she shouldn’t have by mistake and gets deeper and deeper in trouble. When she publically interviews a company director he suddenly states he doesn’t want to do it because the government-backed company has been corrupted. Corruption runs through the veins of this film like infected blood which makes for quite an intriguing thriller. The central character Liz is crucial to how you react to her error of judgement and invariably I was rooting for her to survive the danger she has put herself and others in. For a first film it is a gripping thriller that holds your attention from the get-go, though there are moments when its dramatic effects weaken and seem a little staged and expositional, but all-in-all the film is worth seeing and I have no hesitation is stating that
MILE END Directed by Graham Higgins Starring: Alex Humes. Mark Arnold. Heidi Agerholm Balle. I went past this guy and he was smiling at me like he knew me. - Paul Kerr Who was he? - Kate I don’t know. I’ve never seen him before. He held up his hand like that as he passed me like he wanted to do a high five. - Paul Kerr The man that Paul passes while running is named John, an American, who is very friendly and appears again and again. He seems to have all the answers to life but is ultimately seeking a friend to drag into his murky, dark and mysteriously dangerous world. John is a complete opposite to Paul who is self-contained and desperate to break away from his nine to five mundane existence which appears to be imprisoning him. While Paul is trying to sort his life out and answering job applications, encouraged by his wife Kate, the obviously mentally disturbed John begins to show up every day before Paul - even to actually calling at his house. He is scaring Kate and she tells Paul that he is a bad influence on him and she does not want to see him again and wants him out of their lives. The problem the film has is that Paul’s character seems too intelligent to be taken in by such a despicable character as John.
CHASING ROBERT BARKER Directed by Daniel Florencio Starring: Gudmundur Thorvaldsson. Patrick Baladi. Hilda Peter. Patrick Regis. Elizabeth Boag. What’s this rubbish about being a paparazzi? - Emma
It’s just work. You’re better than that, David. You’ve got real talent.
- David - Emma
David (Gudmundur Thorvaldsson) is a disillusioned photographer in London who tries working as a paparazzi as a last resort to get money. He roams around the streets at night hoping to get pictures or tip-offs to where celebrities or news-worthy people might be to get some good candid shots. One day he has some luck by snapping a famous film actor as he leaves a restaurant with a young woman. The pictures are good and make the front pages of the tabloids and results in his boss Olly Clifford (Patrick Baladi) pressuring him to stay on the case and get more pictures of the couple. Gradually we get to know David’s world and how the paparazzi operate and their connections with night-club bouncers, prostitutes, journalists, and celebrities and bringing some of these into the narrative. But then suddenly David is caught in a scandalous scoop that goes terribly wrong, revealing that Robert Barker was not acting immorally to warrant being hounded by paparazzi because his date on both occasions was in fact his niece.
THE DARKEST UNIVERSE * Spoiler Alert *
Directed by Tom Kingsley. Will Sharpe. Starring: Arsher Ali. Sophia Di Martino. Tiani Ghosh. Ralph Shirley. Joe Thomas. Hello, my name is Zach Pratt. I’m looking for my youngest sister, Alice Pratt. She was last seen heading northwest on the Regent’s Canal from Camden Lock on a green and red narrow boat called The Margaret Rose. She was with her boyfriend Toby Clark. The Darkest Universe is BAFTA-nominated directors Will Sharpe and Tom Kingsley’s surreal and very funny follow-up to the critically acclaimed Black Pond. It is a romantic comedy set on Planet Earth but symbolically in space. World-weary banker Zac Pratt is searching for his eccentric sister, Alice (Tiani Ghosh) who goes missing while on a narrowboat trip with her new boyfriend Toby (Joe Thomas). Alice has had a difficult relationship with her brother and him with her. Zac feels responsible for her disappearance and decides to create a website to help find her, despite the police claiming to do everything they can to locate her, though failing to convince Zac that they really are. This is really an original gem of a movie and is co-written by the very talented Tiani Ghosh who plays Alice. One of the hardest things in screenwriting is to come up with an original idea and she along with co-writer Will Sharpe has. When at times you feel that Zac’s philosophical jabber is becoming incessantly irritating, and at times it is, it is beautifully balanced by the scenes between Alice and Toby which are so natural and believable as one feels so relieved that at last, she is away from her brother and has found love and happiness. And yet, the film offers an unexpected ending which is open to speculation. 30 www.moviesbymills.com
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