Author Topic: Studio Ghibli  (Read 8457 times)

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Lottery

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2014, 08:18:00 PM »
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I mean fingers crossed, they'll see if it's viable to do more stuff and start up again next year or the year after. They're 'taking a rest', a hiatus, or whatever.  Despite making some of the highest-grossing films in Japan, they always played a risky game in terms of funding and prodcution. Both Miyazaki's and Takahata's last films had tremendous budgets and neither of them broke even and most recently Marnie had some disappointing numbers. But I'm hoping, they'll be able to come back. That said, if they come back but directly under NHk or another group which dictates what they make, then I won't be happy. Ghibli is better defunct than compromised ideologically. The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (recent Ghibli doc) discussed creative control and censorship and the old dudes at Ghibli are very much 'over my dead body' when it comes to that.
I imagine they'll be downsizing/restructuring for now but I hope that doesn't put a whole a lot of talented animators out of a job. There are a lot of veterans and bright talents at the studio. Hope they can maintain the important creatives at the very least when they (possibly) start production. They will likely outsource a lot of the animation from now on (like they've done in the past).

Lottery

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2014, 07:59:02 PM »
+1
Dramatic US release trailer for Tale of the Princess Kaguya. Damn this movie looks good.

Pwaybloe

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2014, 10:09:58 PM »
+1
I'm sure the movie will be excellent, but I would hesitate to really make an opinion based on the trailer. The clip looks like a simple animated storyboard of a running girl.

Lottery

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2014, 10:55:13 PM »
+1
Well, to be fair, there is a 6 minute extended trailer out there as well as a bunch of reviews (it was released in Japan like last November), and there are a handful of interviews/features about the film/Takahata's artistic interests. I think it's kinda unfair to describe it as a simple animated storyboard, the look of the film is entirely intentional (to be expected from Takahata), drawing on Takahata's past decades of research. Takahata's a sort of expert on animation and Japanese art, in this film he's bringing together his appreciation of traditional Japanese styles as well foreign animators (Frederic Back). Takahata's spent the last 15ish years pursuing stuff academically rather making films (he had three projects at various stages of pre-prod research which I'm afraid he will ever get to make). It's good that he's finally released something (after the arduous production). Also, the original folk tale is pretty interesting. So there's a lot leading up to this film really.



His experimentation with art/animation styles seems like a logical continuation from his last feature film (though the Yamadas art style is pretty close to the original comic).

Lottery

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2014, 09:29:43 PM »
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Man, The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a magnificent film. It's pretty interesting to think about the film after watching The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness. Throughout half the documentary, people (mainly producers) were very concerned if Kaguya would ever get finished. Thank god it did. Takahata approaches a classic folktale with a incredible degree of artistry, sensitivity and humanity. In that way, it's like any other Takahata film.

Deeply emotional and human at its core, I was pleased to see the way this film managed to be very funny and heartwarming (I was promised a tearjerker over and over again). While being derived from the folktale, the focus is on the girl- her parents and her emotions. The protagonist appears as an individual with a great hunger for life and the world but at the same time has a restless sense of isolation, uncertain of her place. The film shows her at her highest and lowest points, it's hard to describe but at her lowest, she is depicted with a very convincing sense of depression- the sort of emotional depth Takahata is known for. It's reminiscent of Only Yesterday in some regards but it certainly makes sense as the next film after My Neighbors the Yamadas (I have to mention, Pom Poko also has relevance here).

I mentioned in previous posts that the art is a logical stylistic continuation of the Yamadas, I feel that Kaguya is a full realisation of some of the visual ideas present in Yamadas, but of course it is still considerably different to what has come before for Ghibli. It's perfectly well-suited to the story being told, while the art has an inherent Japanese quality to it, some of Takahata's non-Japanese animation influences are apparent. Line, form and colour are approached in a relatively unconventional manner. In that way, it truly seems unique and not something which is totally restricted to 'anime'. This is easily one of the best the best looking Ghibli films yet (seriously). Joe Hisaishi also shines here, providing a score which is traditional in nature (some of the Koto moments are absolutely stunning) but features a rather surprising sounding cue towards the end of the film.

I was initially concerned with its duration, but I did not feel the length at all. I imagine this mainly comes down to Takahata's direction and the incredible animation. His depictions of daily life and nature are as stunning and effortlessly beautiful as ever. I can imagine some audiences not enjoying some of these little digressions, this is understandable. Similarly, I can see people being disappointed with the actual story being told. While it is not a slave to the folktale, it is rather faithful. All of this becomes secondary to the concerns of the protagonist. The film does touch on a number of themes such as the life of (noble)women in the era, the inevitability of  fate, the inability to live the way one chooses, the idealised image of life etc this ultimately helps inform the nature of the protagonist (certainly her sense of rebelliousness).
With this film, Takahata and crew has created another masterpiece of animation. Something which is deeply traditional (it is based on a folktale after all) but also manages clearly stand out and be different in the stagnating world of mainstream animation.
Really special stuff.


Aparently Takahata has two or three more film projects he wants to make. But with his age and the resource intensive nature of his productions, I fear that we'll never get to see them. He's wanted to adapt The Tale of the Heike for quite some time but hasn't had the opportunity- curiously both The Tale of the Heike and The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter have been previously referenced in his films. It is depressing to think that The Wind Rises and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya really are the final features from Miyazaki and Takahata respectively but at the same time, I am very happy that they ended their careers with films that are of an incredibly high standard. Films that effectively represent their directing careers but also feel fresh. With Ghibli currently in hibernation, one can only hope that its return will result in films that are as artful as the work created by Takahata and Miyazaki.

Lottery

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2015, 08:39:07 PM »
+1
http://ghiblicon.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/miyazaki-meets-kurosawa-1993-broadcast.html

This has been floating around for a while in different forms, an interview/meeting between Akira Kurosawa and Hayao Miyazaki. They cover some really interesting stuff.
One cool thing about it is that is has Miyazaki talking about how he was struggling to make a Jidaigeki film and of course, in 1997 he released Princess Mononoke which is an absolute masterpiece.


http://www.wewillfindsomething.com/images/portfolio/wfs_still_24_1140.jpg

Also a partial interview with the younger Miyazaki, who talks about his career, his father's genius and evolving  new mediums.

Highlight:

Q: Has Hayao Miyazaki told you what he thinks of “Ronia”?
A: “I hear the work is well received,” he told me recently, though I don’t really know if he meant it as a compliment.

Lottery

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2015, 09:58:44 PM »
+2
A real shame that this lost to Big Hero 6. Oh well. I expect Yoshiaki Nishimura to be there next year as well.

In more exciting news:

Quote
Takahata has his mind set on his next work, a story about exploited girls, forced to work as nannies with infants strapped on their backs. Most lullabies in Japan were not for parents singing babies to sleep, but for such young women, crying out about their suffering, Takahata said.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_OSCARS_OVERSEAS_PRINCESS_ANIMATION?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

I think I've briefly heard of this before. I really hope he can see this to completion (if they actually plan on getting it made). I've just realised that Takahata gives me a bit of a Mizoguchi vibe at times.

There will also be a future making-of doc of Kaguya.

Quote
Part 1 (approx. 43 minutes) Animation director Isao Takahata embarks on production of "The Tale of the Princess Kaguya", his first film in 14 years. The first half of the documentary covers the process by which he came to take on the project, the pre-recording of the character voices, and the reasons behind the establishment of "Ghibli Studio 7", a facility set up to meet the demands of a new type of animation that does not fit easily into the traditional Ghibli animation process. Deriving characters from the recorded voices, the production gets underway, but quickly falls behind schedule.

Part 2 (approx. 43 minutes) Production on "The Tale of the Princess Kaguya" is already well behind schedule when director Isao Takahata decides on composer Joe Hisaishi to score the film's soundtrack, and singer Kazumi Nikaido for the theme song. With a third of the film's storyboards remaining to be done, producer Yoshiaki Nishimura suspends all other activities while Takahata and Storyboard Artist Osamu Tanabe work through the New Year's holiday. A simultaneous release with Hayao Miyazaki's "The Wind Rises" is abandoned, and the staff works frantically to meet the new date, now set for November 2013.

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2015-02-16/princess-kaguya-docmentary-released-march-23/.85038

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2015, 02:39:52 AM »
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Loved the Miyazaki/Kurosawa meeting, just read the transcript while they talked in the background. This might actually be the first time I've ever heard anything from Kurosawa's mouth. It's surprising when you have an idea of an artist through their work and then they talk and you realize they're still just people, albeit very talented and hardworking people, and often very intriguing.
[redacted rant about Kaguya not winning and facial expressions in childrens movies]

When Marnie Was There seems like something I'll like. Kaguya too (I haven't even seen it yet and I was ready to make a fuss :doh:).

Lottery

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #23 on: June 20, 2016, 07:59:20 AM »
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Finally got around to watching When Marnie Was There and it's a bloody fantastic film. It starts of slow and just cruises by until near the end where somehow I was emotionally overwhelmed. I don't know how they did it so sneakily and beautifully. I wasn't expecting it to hit me like that.
Executed beautifully- and I don't even need to talk about the superb craftsmanship. A powerful movie with a fascinating female relationship.



PSEUDO SPOILERS
The writing and directing leads to a wonderful blend of dream, reality and supernatural contact. Wonderfully natural. The 'reveal (s)' are never used to shock either, the director chooses to present them in an effective but understated manner.

Lottery

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2016, 06:33:03 PM »
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Just found out about this. Directed by Yonebayashi, produced by Nishimura. From Studio Ponoc.
Looks brilliantly faithful to Ghibli.



Quote
Out in the Shropshire hills about a year and a half ago, four visitors were staring up at the sky. It was a pristine August day, and the afternoon sun lit up clouds as big as mountains – “big enough,” remembers one of them, “to hide a flying city.” The foursome visiting England were former employees of Studio Ghibli, the famed Japanese production house behind some of the best-loved animated films ever made. Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro and other Ghibli classics haven’t just won dedicated followings worldwide, they’ve reshaped animation itself.

Get close enough to any great new film from Disney, Pixar, Laika or Aardman, and you’ll feel Ghibli’s warming influence in every pen-stroke, pixel and puppet. That’s why a global swell of dismay met the announcement, back in August 2014, that Ghibli would be taking a “brief pause” in feature film production – a pause that remains as yet unbroken, despite some optimistic reporting last month around a forthcoming 10-minute short called Boro the Caterpillar by the studio’s 75-year-old figurehead, Hayao Miyazaki.

In fact, shortly after work began on their 20th feature, When Marnie Was There, president Koji Hoshino gathered the staff and told them in confidence, but in no uncertain terms, that once that film was finished, Ghibli would be no more. Many were shocked, but others had sensed it coming. Miyazaki had recently announced his retirement from directing, and the idea of Ghibli gliding on indefinitely without its legendary co-founder at the helm was unthinkable. So Marnie’s director Hiromasa Yonebayashi – known to all by his Ghibli-bestowed nickname, Maro – rallied the studio’s team of artists to make their final film.

Studio Ponoc's name comes from the Serbo-Croatian word for midnight: 'the moment when an old day ends and a new one begins'
At the end, when even the promotional tour was over, Maro returned to Ghibli with the producer of Marnie, Yoshiaki Nishimura. The place was deserted: pencils and brushes lay lifelessly on desks. They walked to a nearby wine bar to drink and talk.
Maro had joined Ghibli in 1996 as an animator on Princess Mononoke, and had spent much of his time since working directly under Miyazaki, soaking up the master’s style and technique. (Maro’s first film as director, Arrietty, was adapted from Mary Norton’s Borrowers stories by Miyazaki himself.)

As they spoke about the films they still wanted to make, Maro and Nishimura realised that Ghibli was the only place they could imagine making them – and if its time was over, it was up to them to keep its spirit alight. Hence their decision, a few months later, to quietly rent an anonymous office across the road from a bakery in a Tokyo suburb, one stop on the main commuter line from Ghibli HQ, and fill it with animation desks. Hence their equally quiet acquisition, around the same time, of the rights to The Little Broomstick, an out-of-fashion but fondly remembered children’s book by the British writer Mary Stewart. Hence their cloud-gazing trip to Shropshire with two former Ghibli artists in August 2015, and the hand-drawn animated epic they’ve been secretly crafting in that anonymous office ever since. Say hello to Studio Ponoc.

Fast-forward almost to the present, and I’m sitting across a boardroom table from Maro and Nishimura, in the studio the pair officially founded on April 15 2015. Ponoc’s aim, in Maro’s words, is to “carry forward Ghibli’s presence” into cinema’s future. Its name comes from the Serbo-Croatian word for midnight: “the moment when an old day ends and a new one begins,” as Nishimura neatly puts it.
Side by side, the two men make the kind of appealing mismatch the movie business often sparks. Tokyo-born Nishimura is all bright eyes and sharp cheekbones, and an enthusiastic talker. (We’re speaking via an interpreter, but he frequently veers off into nuanced English.) Maro, who grew up near the remote Noto peninsula, is a far more tranquil presence – his nickname refers to the loafing lifestyles of ancient noblemen – with a bashful, teddy-bear grin.

Just as today’s Disney artists see Ghibli as a guiding light, so Ponoc owes an unexpected debt to Disney. Specifically, it’s to Don Hall, one of the directors of Big Hero 6 and a writer on Moana, who planted the Ponoc seed at the 2014 Academy Awards. (Hall was there with Big Hero 6, Nishimura with Ghibli’s The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, his first film as producer.)
The first film almost everyone sees around the world, usually as a child, is an animation. That means the business has a special responsibility. At a seminar two days before the ceremony, Hall spoke passionately about the future of their craft. “He’s a real Hollywood guy, and spoke from the heart,” Nishimura remembers. “And he said that the first film almost everyone sees around the world, usually as a child, is an animation. That means the business has a special responsibility, and I realised at Ghibli no-one was ready to take it on. I almost felt panic. There was nobody to do it.” One film later, he and Maro realised it was time to step up.

Outside the bright grey boardroom – Japan is the only country in the world where bright grey is an actual, existing colour – the animators are at work. They’re drawing frame after frame of Mary and the Witch’s Flower, the studio’s first feature, which almost no-one in the outside world – not even other Ghibli types – knows exists yet.

A multi-coloured line graph opposite the reception desk keeps track of the last year’s progress on the film. One line, which describes how far along they ideally should be, arcs neatly upwards, while the reality bubbles along some way below it.There are 30 animators’ desks, about half of which are occupied at 5pm on a Monday evening, and the air tingles with the busy shiff-shiff-shiff of charcoal on copy paper. At the far end of the room is Maro’s own desk, relocated from its old place at Ghibli, with a pot of worn-down pencils on one side and a small Totoro calendar on the other.

In a separate room, beside a tidy snack bar, colourists and compositors paint the finished drawings digitally. There are neatly stacked folders of hand-drawn art everywhere.Pinned on boards are energetic character sketches and shiningly beautiful brush-and-ink pictures of English country views: a mature rose garden, rolling blue-green fields, a winding village street. The billowing clouds Maro and Nishimura saw during their trip to Shropshire with Mary’s art director and production designer – and which play a key role in the story – are very much in evidence.

At a glance it all looks very Ghibli, and with good reason. Though Miyazaki was their best-known director, the studio’s soul arguably lay in its art department: a group of 12 long-serving artists with a poetic, painterly style that’s immediately recognisable as Ghibli.
Maro describes them as “treasures”, and after Marnie, none would have struggled to find work. But with their talents scattered to different studios, that much-loved look would have been lost for good – so Maro and Nishimura approached each of them in turn to ask if they’d be interested in moving to Ponoc. Had they not done so, Nishimura says, “we would not have been able to make a film of Ghibli’s particular beauty again. I realised I had to keep as many people together as possible. So I said, ‘OK, we’re going to make a new film, starting from zero and pulling it together.’”
Of the 12, eight accepted – along with a handful of artists from other studios who, as Maro diplomatically races to emphasise, “are also very talented”.

With their core team assembled – plus what business types call a "quick win" in the form of a gorgeous animated advertising campaign last summer for the West Japan Railway Company – Ponoc was ready to make a film. But what? At Ghibli, Miyazaki often drew ideas from a list of 50 favourite children’s books he’d compiled over the years, many of them European. The Borrowers and When Marnie Was There were both on there, as were Treasure Island, Winnie-the-Pooh, Swallows and Amazons and The Hobbit.
Nishimura likewise scoured children’s libraries for ideas, which he’d pitch to Maro over “lots of cheap coffee”. The more he read, the more he noticed something: “within the world of children’s books there are two patterns for stories involving magic.”

In the first, a child is born with powers and uses them to save the day. The second runs identically, except the child has to somehow obtain the powers first. So when he found a book that fit neither, he knew he was onto something. A lot of Japanese animation has a kid solving a problem by getting inside a giant robot. The Ghibli philosophy was different, and I wanted it to be the Ponoc philosophy too
That book was Mary Stewart’s The Little Broomstick, first published in 1971, and alive with the kind of pastoral enchantment that was always a Ghibli speciality. In the fine old Ghibli tradition, it began with a young girl, Mary Smith, moving somewhere remote: in this case, her Great-Aunt Charlotte’s red-brick country pile near the Shropshire village of Redmanor. Magic comes into her life via a black cat called Tib, a strange old gardener, and a broomstick that whisks Mary to a school for witches that predates Hogwarts, the Unseen University and even Miss Cackle’s Academy.

Because of its similarities to other well-known stories – the girl-cat-broomstick combo also chimed a little too neatly with the 1989 Ghibli film Kiki’s Delivery Service – Maro was initially wary. (He also worried that certain set-pieces, including a madly surging chase scene in which hundreds of fantastical creatures escape the school, would prove too complex to animate.)

But Nishimura pressed the point. “A fundamental part of the Ghibli story is that the heroines’ humanity, rather than any special powers, was always their greatest strength,” he explains. “You may like it, you may dislike it, but a lot of Japanese animation has a kid solving a problem by getting inside a giant robot. The Ghibli philosophy was different, and I wanted it to be the Ponoc philosophy too.”
Soon enough, Maro came around. It helped that Mary fulfilled a wish-list he himself had drawn up for his first post-Ghibli film – basically, something as different as possible from the contemplative, melancholic Marnie. He had three ineffably Japanese concepts in mind: genki, meaning liveliness or high spirits, ugoki-mawari, lots of running around, and fantaji – ie, fantasy.

“I wanted to make a film that would make children’s hearts race,” he explains. “I have strong memories of watching Ghibli’s early films as a child and feeling my own heart beating faster. I have an eight-year-old, and I would like my child, and all children by extension, to have that same experience I had.”
I’d like everyone who sees the film to ask a question of themselves as they encounter darkness and doubt: what’s my next step?
Using Stewart’s original story as a guide, Maro teased out the story, adding an entirely new second act that plays to Mary’s strengths as a young girl whose courage and persistence, as opposed to magic powers, sees her overcome the danger at hand.

Nishimura describes it as a film for children who are “moving into a 21st century that’s different from the one their parents imagined for them.” He goes on: “I think we all had a vision of what the world would be like, but it’s not the one we’re moving into. So what filmmakers should say at a time when people are losing hope – and what kind of film might help restore it in our children – are big themes for right now.”

"These days lots of young people if they fail at something will retreat,” continues Maro. “But Mary takes another step forward. I’d like everyone who sees the film to ask that question of themselves as they encounter darkness and doubt: what’s my next step?”
For Ponoc, the answer is clear: complete Mary by next summer, then work out what’s next. (Nishimura has plans for “four or five” more films in mind, including some eyebrow-raising collaborations, but he’s asked me to keep the details secret for the time being.)

In the meantime, the first trailer for Mary, released online today after Studio Ponoc’s first ever press conference, could hardly be more promising. Its fluidity and detail – and extraordinary beauty – are reassuringly familiar, but there’s also an unexpected spark of lunacy at work (get a load of the diving suits that splurt out flying dolphin-things).

For those of us who’ve spent the last three years on tenterhooks, the English-language trailer’s concluding tagline – “The Magic Returns” – should strike a sweet chord.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower will be released in the summer of 2017.


Sounds brilliant.

 

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