Film of the Fortnight: My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro (1988) Hayao Miyazaki Of all the great anime films that have come out of the legendary Studio Ghibli, My Neighbor Totoro is probably the loveliest. Written and directed by anime grandmaster Hayao Miyazaki, it tells the story of two young sisters who move with their father to rural Japan and there find…

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Film of the Fortnight: Tokyo Story

September is back and with it Film of the Fortnight. Tokyo Story (1953) Yasujiro Ozu Tokyo Story is the most praised film made by Japanese Yasujiro Ozu, one of the highest regarded filmmakers that has ever lived. The setup is simple: an elderly married couple set out to visit their grown-up children living in Tokyo….

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Film of the Fortnight: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) Hayao Miyazaki Environmental destruction, fear, conflict, warfare and compassion. Those are the central themes of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, a Japanese animated science fiction/fantasy adventure film written and directed by anime grandmaster Hayao Miyazaki. The film, which takes place in a distant post-apocalyptic future,…

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Film of the Fortnight: Perfect Blue

Perfect Blue (1997) Satoshi Kon A pop star wants to quit music to pursue an acting career and soon finds herself struggling to separate reality from fiction. That is the premise of Perfect Blue, a Japanese animated psychological thriller that appropriately has been described as “Hitchcock does anime”. Hitchcock is however not the man behind…

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Film of the Fortnight: Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies (1988) Isao Takahata Very beautiful, profoundly gripping and utterly saddening – that is one way to sum up this animated film written and directed by Isao Takahata and produced by Studio Ghibli. Set in Japan during the final months of the Second World War, it depicts the hardships and good times…

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Film of the Fortnight: Spirited Away

Spirited Away (2001) Hayao Miyazaki When it comes to animated film there is one name that shines brighter than all others and that is Hayao Miyazaki and his Studio Ghibli. Spirited Away is the eighth feature film by director, producer, screenwriter, animator, author and manga artist Miyazaki, and the most successful film in Japanese history…

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