Though Hayao Miyazaki is (maybe) retiring and Isao Takahata’s (maybe) final film is about to be released in the U.S., the two animators’ co-creation Studio Ghibli looks to be in good hands with its next generation of filmmakers. Miyazaki’s son Goro had a shaky start with 2006’s Tales From Earthsea, but his follow up From Up On Poppy Hill was a beautiful film, in the tradition of great Ghibli slice-of-life pictures like Only Yesterday and Whisper Of The Heart; and Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s adaptation of Mary Norton’s The Borrowers (titled The Secret World Of Arrietty in the U.S.) honors the original’s timeless story while adding some breathtaking Ghibli-style detail in the animation.
Yonebayashi’s latest film, When Marnie Was There, adapts another classic children’s book (by Joan G. Robinson), about a sickly misfit named Anna who finds the perfect friend while on summer vacation, and then has to come to grips with losing her. When Marnie Was There opened in Japan this past weekend, but probably won’t make it to the States until next year at the earliest (though it may play some North American festivals before then). In the meantime, here’s the first trailer, which is in unsubtitled Japanese, with the exception of Priscilla Ahn’s song “Fine On The Outside.”
The trail of the tape
Title: When Marnie Was There
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Screenwriters:Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Keiko Niwa, Masashi Ando
Cast: Sara Takatsuki, Kasumi Arimura
The entire trailer in one line of dialogue:“And I cry, and I cry, and I cryyyyy….”
The entire trailer in one screengrab:
If I could point to one image in this trailer that sums up what I love about Ghibli (and why I liked Arriety so much), it’s the shot of Anna’s boat drifting toward the stone dock, and then getting rocked dangerously when it hits. The understanding of basic physics, combined with Anna’s mildly panicked reaction, shows how well Yonebayashi and the Ghibli animators paint a believable world, with characters who evoke empathy. When Marnie Was There looks like another winner from the studio’s second wave of directors. I’ll be over here drumming my fingers impatiently until some U.S. distributor picks it up.