Having begun in March and concluding in November, the 6th annual Studio Ghibli Film Festival is underway in Portland. From “My Neighbor Totoro” to “Spirited Away,” a variety of Director and Co-founder of Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki’s, movies will make a resurgence in theaters for a limited time.
The films will be shown in some combination of Japanese or English dubs with Japanese or English subtitles, depending on the theater.
“Each film will have an exclusive selection from the documentary series ‘10 Years With Hayao Miyazaki’ so you can step behind the scenes with the animation master,” the Ghibli Fest website states.
It is a series on the life of Miyazaki, ranging from his childhood to his love life to showing how his drawings came to life decades ago. It also details tragedies such as the 2011 earthquake and how they affected his family, life and work, in addition to exploring the process of aging. It is a must-see for people of all ages.
New this year is the filming of a live action retelling of Spirited Away that played live on stage in Tokyo’s famous Imperial Theatre. The play, first shown in 2022, was “full of dazzling sets, captivating musical numbers, and wondrous puppets of beloved characters.” It was adapted and directed by John Caird, who also worked on productions including Les Misérables.
The Ghiblifest website not only shows a description of the movies in the lineup, but also lists the dates that each film is being shown. Each film is only shown for a limited time, so be sure to watch the calendar so you do not miss your favorite Ghibli movie on the big screen. Movies are still showing fairly often, so check the website for when they will be available.
Next in the lineup is “Howl’s Moving Castle” (2004), a favorite among fans. From Sept. 23-27, it will be showing in theaters across the country. “Howl’s Moving Castle “is a beautifully illustrated romantic fantasy featuring wizards, warring kingdoms and a castle on legs. The movie tells the story of a girl who is turned into an old woman by a witch and goes to work for a wizard named Howl in his roaming castle.
The festival will conclude with “Spirited Away”, (2001), beginning Oct. 28 and finishing on Nov. 1. This one is a fantastical story filled with spirits and demons, following a girl who must work in a bathhouse in the realm of spirits in order to save her parents, who have been turned into pigs. This, being one of Miyazaki’s most beloved films and “one of the most critically-acclaimed films of all time,” as the website states, is a wonderful conclusion to a year of films full of fantasy, love, war and longing.
Having the opportunity to view some of Miyazaki’s most famous, influential and memorable animated films with friends and family is an experience that cannot be missed and is available for a limited time.