When Marnie Was There (2014)

If we’re lucky, we begin our lives in a community of warmth and acceptance, a family where our status as loved goes unquestioned. But as we age into adolescence, that haven is inevitably breached by doubt and distrust, as we begin to question our position in the world. Those questions are exacerbated when you’re an…

Giveaway: Win When Marnie Was There on DVD [COMPLETED]

Thanks to Madman Entertainment, ccpopculture has 5 DVD copies of the latest (and possibly last) Studio Ghibli film, When Marnie Was There, to give away. “Twelve-year-old Anna believes she sits outside the invisible magic circle to which most people belong, and shuts herself off from everyone around her. Concerned for her health, Anna’s foster mother decides to…

Pom Poko (1994)

You’d need a heart of stone to grow up in the ‘90s and come out without some environmentalist tendencies. You’d go to the movies and watch as cute rainforest animals had their home imperilled by oncoming bulldozers (in Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest) or cringe at the cruelty inflicted upon an innocent orca (in Free…

The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)

Studio Ghibli’s Isao Takahata’s adaptation of the ancient folk tale “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter” is rendered in gorgeous hand-drawn animation that recalls both a children’s picture book and Japanese woodcuttings. This aesthetic and the title suggest the film’s shift in focus – rather than telling the story of the bamboo cutter who finds…

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,…

Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

I watched Grave of the Fireflies expecting a masterpiece. I’d never seen the film before, but its reputation preceded it – as Studio Ghibli’s second film (released simultaneously with the magnificent My Neighbour Totoro) and as a tear-jerking war drama. Based on the non-fiction novel by Nosaka Akiyuki, it tells the tale of teenage boy…