Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into a exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthrals all who encounter her - but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime.

I did not get the chance to review this film when it was released last June and recently I've been to Studio Ghibli Layout Designs Exhibition in Paris with a friend of mine. So I decided to skip the usually bad first week of the year horror movie (cf Texas Chainsaw 3D, The Marked Ones and this year new Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death) and pay a tribute to which is in y opinion one of the greatest animation studio in existence. Please keep making movies! 
This newly Oscar nominated movie for best animated feature film is directed by Isao Takahata who brought us Grave of the Fireflies. This story is based on a Japanese folklore tale called The Bamboo Cutter. I remember being very excited for this movie as Studio Ghibli made some of the best animated entertainment ever. In fact, Hayao Miyazaki's movies alone are some of the best movies ever made, not only animated movies and the Studio continues their reign of awesomeness with this film. It is such a unique and original looking animated. I had never seen a movie like this before; with some bold and rich colourful art work that literally leap out of the screen without any computerised elements getting involved in the process. Naturally you can totally tell that the artists created this movie with their hands from scratch. Moreover, Studio Ghibli's films are largely viewed as kid movies such as Princess Mononoke but they aren't only kid movies. This movie in particular actually has a mature and realistic look at life as this girl grow up in the wilderness, you see her enjoy life, she loves it; and when she's forced to take this princess role, life becomes really hard for her as various suiters come and try to woo her. You get to see a girl who doesn't understand her place in the world, which is a theme well explored in many movies. At last that was one of the numerous things I loved about this film, it takes this idea so seriously, shows such a mature, realistic and not glossy portrait of what life can be like sometimes for teenagers. There isn't a part of this film that feels fictional not even some of the supernatural elements that are happening which by the way are moments of extreme beauty. 

Overall The Tale of the Princess Kaguya largely deserves this best animated feature Oscar nomination. It is a movie of rare beauty, emotion, extreme child-like wonder and glee. One of Studio Ghibli's prettiest/best movie.

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