[Review] Inside the great minds at Studio Ghibli

[Review] Inside the great minds at Studio Ghibli

The documentary The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness offers a rare chance to meet the creative forces behind Japan's award-winning Studio Ghibli.

Most of the movie focuses on animator extraordinaire Hayao Miyazaki as he completes The Wind Rises, his last work before retirement. It also shows his producer, Toshio Suzuki, keeping track of Miyazaki's progress and promoting the film across Japan.

Meanwhile, Miyazaki's elusive mentor/partner/longtime rival Isao Takahata - who doesn't make an appearance until the end of the movie - completes The Tale of Princess Kaguya, which was released in Japan on the same day as The Wind Rises.

Director Mami Sunada does a good job capturing the dynamics between the three men at the heart of this creative enterprise. It's a wonderful inside look at the whole process: casting voice actors, drawing storyboards, and debating the ending of The Wind Rises. There are even some candid moments of the team exercising.

Miyazaki makes some amusing observations about his career, and proves what a perfectionist he is; it's no wonder Studio Ghibli employees found it stressful to work with him. But you'll leave the cinema with an even greater appreciation and respect for their painstakingly hand-drawn work.

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This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Ghibli's creative process


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