Saturday 8 November 2014

"The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness" (The Guardian 07/11/14)

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness ****
Dir: Mami Sunada. With: Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, Toshio Suzuki. 118 mins. Cert: PG

With news that Studio Ghibli is winding down production, this intimate, all-access study of the animation giant’s tranquil inner sanctum assumes an additional charge: future generations may be as grateful for its footage of Hayao Miyazaki sketching as we now are of early Beatles Super 8. Like many of the studio’s best films, Kingdom takes the form of a measured, wistful leavetaking – a guided farewell tour. Miyazaki roams the ateliers in his craft apron, trying to pass on 20th century etiquette to the kids inking The Wind Rises’ fuselage; outside, blossom falls, and commercial pressures mount, oblivious to the exacting, time-intensive work required in conjuring such committed images from scratch. (“Most of our world is rubbish”, sighs Miyazaki, making any number of recent digimations blush.) From its reflective female voiceover to the Ghibli cat’s frequent cameos, it’s as idiosyncratic, heartfelt and moving as anything to have emerged from the studio’s gates. 

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness is now showing in selected cinemas.

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