Spirited Away (2001)

Spirited Away is not my favourite of Hayao Miyazaki’s films – that title goes to My Neighbour Totoro, now and forever – but it is perhaps his best. The story told here is deeply steeped in Japanese mythology yet imbued with resonant universality. As a child, who hasn’t fretted at being abandoned by their parents,…

The Castle of Cagliostro

The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

Have you ever wondered what you’d get if you asked Walt Disney to make a James Bond film? Well, wonder no more. The Castle of Cagliostro centres on Lupin the Third, a gentleman thief inspired in equal part by Bond and fictional French burglar Arsène Lupin. It’s fair to say that, in retrospect, the ever-whimsical…

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (2013)

Last Saturday I made a mid-morning visit to GOMA’s Cinémathèque for a couple documentaries by Hong-Joon Kim on the subject of Korean cinema. It was hardly an accessible double feature: as a fellow critic commented, it was “too niche for its audience of five people,” presenting interesting but opaque oral histories. I expected the same…

Berserk: The Golden Age Arc

An adaptation such as the recent Golden Age trilogy prompts questions about the nature of what is and isn’t a “remake.” Do we treat these three films as a fresh adaptation of the long-running dark fantasy manga, or as a reinterpretation of the 1997 anime series closely inspired by that text? When we evaluate the…

Princess Mononoke (1997)

Princess Mononoke (1997)

Princess Mononoke’s recent release on Blu-Ray provided me an opportunity to truly appreciate the gorgeous animation of Miyazaki’s seventh feature-length film. My previous viewings of the film had been low-quality (pirated) versions – in fact, I can distinctly recall watching the film at a friend’s place on a burnt DVD when, halfway through, the disc…

The Wind Rises (2013)

The Wind Rises (2013)

“Airplanes are beautiful dreams. Cursed dreams, waiting for the sky to swallow them up.” It’s hard to separate The Wind Rises from its creator, Hayao Miyazaki, iconic anime director and co-founder of Studio Ghibli. Barring a Jay Z-esque change of heart, The Wind Rises represents his last feature length film, and with this in mind…