Monday, November 24, 2014
The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness
With its meandering pace and frequent cutaways to plants or animals, Mami Sunada’s documentary about Japan’s Studio Ghibli in some ways mirrors the studio’s animated features. But while there’s greatness in the nonsense and nonsequiturs of soulful films like Spirited Away and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, which touch on nearly everything that really matters in human existence, Sunada’s goals seem far more modest. Providing a fan’s-eye view of the studio with an emphasis on director Hayao Miyazaki, she shadows Miyazaki as he goes about his daily routines and films business meetings and press conferences. And, in voiceovers she reads in a girlishly enthusiastic tone of voice, she fills in details about Miyazaki’s long, often complicated relationships with director and cofounder Isao Takahata and producer Toshio Suzuki, the two other main creative forces behind Studio Ghibli. Read the rest on Slant Magazine.