[ Directed by ]
[ Produced by ]
[ Staff ]
• Screenplay: SUNADA Mami
• Cinematography: SUNADA Mami
• Editor: SUNADA Mami
• Music: TAKAGI Masakatsu
[ Production Company ]
[ Distributor (Japan) ]
[ Production Studio ]
Release Date: November 16, 2013
Running Time: 118 min
Genre: Drama, Children/Family, Historical, Documentary
Screening Format: DCP
Screen Size: HD (16:9)
Sound Processing: Uncompressed 5.1ch
[ Story ]
After drawing attention for her debut
Death of a Japanese Salesman, director Sunada Mami reveals the current state of animation production house Studio Ghibli through focusing on the light and dark permeating its daily activities.
Miyazaki Hayao announces his retirement from feature film direction with
The Wind Rises, Takahata Isao awaits the release of his The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, and Suzuki Toshio continues to support them as a producer as he has done for the last for thirty years. What dream and madness filled visage emerges of Studio Ghibli, Japan’s last utopia?
[ Official Site ]
The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness is a unique and rare case. It was born from the concession that was made to the director Sunada Mami to spend more than a year in the company of Miyazaki Hayao, following him during the gestation of what turned out to be his last animated feature, The Wind Rises. The film follows the travail of creation, the small daily habits of Miyazaki until the decision to withdraw, although this is never discussed in front of the video and is elliptically left aside by the director showing us only the moments before the announcement of the press conference .
This documentary, shot with a delicate touch, sometimes lyrical and sometimes comic, focuses mainly on the figure of Miyazaki. Takahata Isao appears very marginally, there is talk of her new work, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, but the director himself appears only two minutes towards the end of the film and this despite his relationship with Miyazaki, which at times takes on the tone of rivalry artistic, at least in the words of some interviewees, is absolutely central to this documentary. Another reason of interest is given by the photographs and the archive videos that show us of the very young Takahata, Miyazaki and Suzuki Toshio, producer and glue of the whole studio, at the time when they worked for Toei Animation and then at the time of founding of Studio Ghibli. A story in images that allows us to intuit the reciprocal influence that these three characters have mutually had each other and through which they have grown artistically and personally, from Hols Prince of the Sun to Panda Kopanda up to the success of Heidi and Miyazaki’s directorial debut with Lupine III – Il Castello di Cagliostro in 1979.
The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness is a story that the director is able to fully control and do without overflowing into the apologue, even if the risk is there and after all it is a very celebratory and non-investigative work through which the admiration and respect for the author towards the three. From a filmic point of view, the director’s choice to use clips of animated feature films almost never is intelligent, the art of Studio Ghibli remains in the background this time in a sort of reversal of perspective that shows us what is usually invisible. Only towards the end in a very small but very dense part do we review Miyazaki’s career in less than a minute when he himself confesses that part of his inspiration comes from observing things from above.
The whole documentary, from the earliest scenes, is made up of images of the greenery surrounding the Studio Ghibli and the Ghibli Museum and the light that filters through the trees, a recurring theme in feature films, in music and in the poetry of the studio light. But also from the small wildflowers, born naturally and almost insignificant but that Miyazaki in more than one occasion points out to the director recalling her and underlining her beauty and importance. In this sense the most lyrical images are those on the roof of the Studio, entirely covered with green and from which every evening, at sunset, Miyazaki observes the city and the sky.
Much of the documentary, two compact hours that pass spun without slowing down whatsoever, is formed by the creative process that led Miyazaki to the making of The Wind Rises. First the creation of the ekonte in about two years, the maniacal detail, the colors, the choice of voices with the surprise of Anno Hideaki’s choice for the main protagonist, but also the interaction with the other people who work in the studio, the exchange of words with the lady who brings him the yakult weekly and a few words with the director about Fukushima and the no to nuclear, which many times we see camp as a slogan in the studio. But in addition to the obsession for planes, for the characters he designed and for his work as a draftsman and creator of stories, what is perhaps most striking, the thing that gives us the dimension of the Miyazaki man, are the small daily gestures outside of work, Sundays spent cleaning the banks of the river with the other inhabitants of the area, a very common practice in Japan, and the habit of passing every day in front of a kindergarten in the area and stopping to say hello with the hand the children, the scene with which the film ends in a beautiful morning light.