Review: ‘Ghibli: The Miyazaki Temple’

The phantasmagorical world of Japan's most famed anime house is delightfully unfurled for beginners and devotees in "Ghibli: The Miyazaki Temple." Neatly encapsulating the studio's history, docu is tailor made for fests containing animation elements. Originally produced for Gallic TV, film's only fault is its brevity.

The phantasmagorical world of Japan’s most famed anime house is delightfully unfurled for beginners and devotees in “Ghibli: The Miyazaki Temple.” Neatly encapsulating the studio’s history, docu is tailor made for fests containing animation elements. Originally produced for Gallic TV, film’s only fault is its brevity. But with both French and English versions available, pubcasters looking for popular fare will snap this up.

Studio Ghibli is Japan’s most successful animation studio, with helmers Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away,” “Howl’s Moving Castle”) and Isao Takahata (“My Neighbours the Yamadas”) creating a bonanza for producer/prexy Toshio Suzuki. Generously adorned with clips from their films and their influences, the docu follows Ghibli’s arc from a mid-’60s rebellion against working conditions at Toei Co. to its present powerhouse position, complete with public fun park. All interviews are illuminating, but Miyazaki is teasingly confined to pic’s tete-a-tete finale with esteemed French comic artist Jean “Moebius” Giraud. Meeting of the wizened European, whose imprint is on films from “Blade Runner” to “The Fifth Element,” and the apparently relaxed Nipponese helmer makes an interesting contrast, and will be of special interest to Francophiles. All credits are impeccable.

Ghibli: The Miyazaki Temple

France

Production

An Arte France, Point du Jour production, in association with Studio Ghibli, with participation of SBS-TV (Australia), CNC. (International sales: Point du Jour, Paris.) Produced by Vincent Decis. Directed, written by Yves Montmayeur.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Pascal Villa; editor, Olivier Heinemann; music, Joe Hisaishi. Reviewed at Melbourne Film Festival, July 30, 2005. Running time: 53 MIN.

Cast

With: Isao Takahata, Toshio Suzuki, Hayao Miyazaki, Jean Giraud.
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