[ Directed by ]
[ Produced by ]
[ Cast ]
• ASAKURA Aki The Princess Kaguya
• KORA Kengo Sutemaru
• CHII Takeo Old Bamboo Cutter
• MIYAMOTO Nobuko Old Bamboo Cutter’s Wife
[ Staff ]
• Executive Producer: UJIIE Seiichiro
• Screenplay: TAKAHATA Isao
• Screenplay: SAKAGUCHI Riko
• Music: HISAISHI Joe
• Theme Song: NIKAIDO Kazumi
• Original Story: Based on the Japanese folktale “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter”
[ Production Company ]
Studio Ghibli, Nippon Television Network, Dentsu, Hakuhodo DYMP, Walt Disney Japan, Mitsubishi, Toho, KDDI
[ Distributor (Japan) ]
[ Production Studio ]
Release Date: November 23, 2013
Running Time: 137 min
Genre: Drama, Children/Family, Animation
Screening Format: DCP
Screen Size: American Vista (1:1.85)
Sound Processing: Dolby Digital,DTS
Subtitle : Englishuvm
[ Story ]
The first film in fourteen years since
My Neighbors the Yamadas
from maestro Takahata Isao, who devised the story, wrote the script, and directed. Based on the ancient Japanese folk tale “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter”, it explores its premise from a hitherto unaddressed angle by revealing the state of mind of its protagonist.
Born from a bamboo shoot, Princess Kaguya (voice: Asakura Aki) is lovingly raised by an old bamboo cutter (voice: Chii Takeo) and his wife (voice: Miyamoto Nobuko), and becomes a beautiful young woman. What leads her to turn away suitor after suitor and return to the moon? And what was her sin, and how was she punished?
[ Official Site ]
Taken from the popular legend Taketori monogatari, Takahata’s last effort comes out 14 years after his previous work and with a very long gestation, almost eight years. For the type of animation chosen, it is almost a revolution for Studio Ghibli. The simple and deliberately dashed sign as if it were a watercolor painting projects us into the world created by Takahata from the very first scenes. For those who follow Japanese animation, the atmosphere of the film and also the rhythm of the story, punctuated by the female narrative voice, very closely resemble those of the short animations often broadcast on television by Mukashi Banashi monogatari, the old stories drawn from popular legends.
What elevates the feature film above the other films that have been confronted with a story as old as known and studied in all Japanese schools, are the delicate touch with which Takahata can describe the growth process of the Takenoko child (bud of bambu) and its relationship with parents and the surrounding world. Some scenes in which Takenoko is still newborn and tries to get up and take the first steps are real masterpieces of fun and sweetness. Or again, thanks also to the stroke of the design, the sensitivity with which Takahata outlines the friendship with the other children and the painful transition to the city, where he will try to become a princess at the behest of the old father who will do anything, even against his will, to make her educate like a real nobleman and make her forget the period spent playing wildly in the countryside.
Among the many scenes to remember, for experimental daring, mention at least two. The first is when the sad princess escapes from the town house and runs freely, with her face almost transformed into that of a demon with the princely clothes that flutter in the sky like an indistinct color spot. A scene of hate, then, which contrasts with that in which the same Kaguya-hime with her faithful servant and her mother go to admire the cherry trees in bloom and where the princess, for a very happy moment, begins to twirl and the screen turns into a swirl of colors.
Often the feelings evoked by the film are conveyed through the beautiful music composed by Hisaishi Joe, for the first time collaborator in a film by Takahata. Sounds and music are a very important part of the feature film and also of the story itself: the princess plays the koto, a traditional Japanese instrument, in moments of reflection and when she feels sad for her destiny and looks to the moon, visual and narrative fulcrum of all history.
Kaguya-hime no monogatari is a very bound work and totally immersed in Japanese settings and traditions and could not be otherwise seen as the narrative origin from which it derives. The interesting fact is that it is also on a stylistic and visual level. If we have already said how the drawing and the images are almost separate pictures, almost a return to the spirit of the emakimono, explicitly mentioned in the film, also the rhythm of the feature film and its poetics are imbued with that dilution of time and that ‘attention to the little things that are part of Japanese sensitivity.
Through these peculiarities, Takahata brings to our attention universal themes and unresolvable knots of the human race such as the passing of time or being on the earth of man in relation to the cycle of the seasons. But it is the relationship between parents and children, the inevitable detachment of the latter from the original family nucleus and becoming adults the themes that most inform the film and are touching.