Another new project from Studio Ghibli where Hayao Miyazaki is stepping down from the director’s chair, with the idea to promote new talents. In 2010, Hiromasa Yonebayashi had his shot with Arrietty, now, Goro Miyazaki is offered here a new chance to prove himself after his Tales from Earthsea, considered as one of Ghibli’s weakest film. Quite a challenge?
From Up On Poppy Hill (Kokuriko-zaka Kara) is set in pre-Olympics Japan (1963), about a high school girl running on her own the family lodging house after her sailor father went missing, and her mother working abroad. Forced to grow-up quickly, she’ll also have to deal with her feelings for two boys…
Based on a screenplay written by Hayao Miyazaki (who is never too far away), the film looks like a pretty down-to-earth slice-of-life type of story with no fantastic elements around. No spirits, no witches in sight, but characters discovering new aspects of life, of what they are. In background, a changing Japan, getting ready to use the Olympics to show the world the “Japanese economic miracle” – keep in mind, at the end of WWII, the country was in ruins. In other words, there’s the idea of moving forward, without forgetting the past — BTW, you’ll find some specific History details in this review.
A smooth and colorful animation from Goro Miyazaki, with some astonishing visuals, just look at the amount of details, it’s gorgeous. It’s still the good old traditional & effective Ghibli style, not sure the studio will be trying to experiment here something different. Maybe for Ghibli’s next project, supposedly directed by Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies)? Anyway, the Daily Yomiuri writes in this review with spoilers that “images on screen evoke the viewers’ sense of nostalgia”.
From Up On Poppy Hill came out on July 16th, 2011 in Japanese theaters. The film should be released internationally sometime in 2012.
For your ears, the main theme;