[ Directed by ]
[ Produced by ]
• MIYAGAWA Tomoyuki
• SAKURAI Yoshiki
[ Cast ]
• ICHIMURA Masachika Tatsuo
• NAKAMA Yukie Sawako
• YANAGIHARA Kanako Miｔchan
• Yusuke SANTAMARIA Hideo
• YOKOYAMA Kota Junpei
• ILYUSHENKO Polina Tanya
• TANIAI Junya Kanta
[ Staff ]
• Original Story: SUGITA Shigemichi
• Screenplay: SUGITA Shigemichi
• Screenplay: SAKURAI Yoshiki
• Music: SADA Masashi
• Character Design: FUKUSHIMA Atsuko
• Chief Animator: ITO Nobutake
• Art Director: Santiago MONTIEL
[ Production Company ]
Japan Association of Music Enterprises
[ Distributor (Japan) ]
Warner Bros. Pictures Japan (Japan), Production I.G (Worldwide)
[ Production Studio ]
Release Date: February 22, 2014
Running Time: 102 min
Genre: Drama, Children/Family, Historical, Animation
Screening Format: DCP
Screen Size: HD (16:9)
Sound Processing: Uncompressed 5.1ch
Screening Format with Subtitles
[ Story ]
An animated film from Production I.G, the studio behind the “Ghost in the Shell” franchise. Based on true events, it depicts bonds between children timidly growing in the aftermath of a tragedy caused by adults.
In 1945, the tiny island of Shikotan is occupied by the Soviet Union after Japan’s surrender. As the lives of the islanders change dramatically, 10-year-old Junpei (voice: Yokoyama Kota) and his 7-year-old brother Kanta (voice: Taniai Junya) overcome linguistic and cultural barriers to become friends with the Soviet children.
[ Official Site ]
[ Film Festivals, Awards ]
•!2014 Annecy International Animated Film Festival, Official Competition, Jury Distinction
• 2014 Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, Official Competition, Children’s Jury Prize, Adult Jury Prize
• 2014 Moscow International Film Festival
August 1945, World War II has now come to an end and Japan has already declared its surrender. The brothers Kanta and Junpei live in a small island north of the archipelago which, immediately after the end of the conflict, is invaded by the victorious Soviet troops from neighboring Russia. Thus began for the inhabitants a difficult period of deprivation and continuous threats of deportation. Meanwhile, the two little ones make friends with Tanya, a Russian child daughter of a burly army major.
Winner of numerous awards in 2014, including the Jury Prize at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, the Satoshi Kon Award at the Fantasia Film Festival, and Oscar® nominee for Best Animated Film, Giovanni’s Island allows Nishikubo Mizuho ( class 1953) to boast the status of author of Japan Animation, after a long apprenticeship spent playing the roles of screenwriter, director of animations and director among TV series, OAV and minor feature films. Giovanni’s Island focuses on the heartbreaking story of two orphaned brothers of a mother, raised by her father (army officer), her grandfather (a humble fisherman) and with the fleeting presence of her uncle, an open-minded person who lives on the earnings of the thriving black maket during what was probably the most difficult historical period for Japan, in the aftermath of unconditional surrender.
The setting of war and the centrality of children’s figures can not help but think of A Tomb of the Fireflies (Hotaru no haka, 1988) by Takahata Isao – a director with whom, among other things, is competing for the Oscar 2015 thanks to the more acclaimed The story of the shining princess (Kaguya – hime no monogatari) – although the work of Nishikubo is completely devoid of that tragic lyricism that has made the story protagonists the brothers Seita and Setsuko unicum in the history of Studio Ghibli. Giovanni’s Island is in fact a gekiga in which the dramatic element acts as a support, from the premise on which to build a story with at the center the question of acceptance and understanding of diversity. An island inhabited by Japanese fishermen suffers the shock of the encounter / cultural clash with the near and at the same time very far Russia, embodied by the hostile figure of the invading army.
As always, the world of children will be an ideal unifying bridge, a path made of universal languages that allows Tanya, Kanta and Jinpei to communicate despite the different language. And it is in fact in the most emblematic scene of the film that the path materializes, taking the features of the tracks of the toy train of the brothers who, passing through the openings of the walls of the neighboring house of Tanya, gives birth to each other. And it will still be a train, this imaginary time, to bind the two brothers forever: the train that travels through the Milky Way in which Kanta will rise alone, just as in the story of Miyazawa Kenji who is inspired by this film (Una notte sul train of the Milky Way, Ginga tetsudō no yoru) and that the two brothers never stop reading during the story.
A lucid, polite and poetic film – despite a widespread lack of incisiveness in the script – demonstrating that the quality of genre feature films is not always exclusive to Studio Ghibli.