April 8—15, 2024


The Land of Ghibli. Six animations from Japanese studio included in Timeless Film Festival Warsaw program

Japan’s Studio Ghibli has produced a plethora of cult works, and the premieres of their films are eagerly awaited no less than those from Walt Disney’s studio. The hits of Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki, the studio’s founders, have for years been counted among the canon of world cinema, not only among animation fans. So it’s no surprise that Timeless Film Festival Warsaw’s program features Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke, Ponyo, The Secret World of Arrietty and The Cat Returns. These films were included in the program thanks to Gutek Film. Viewers will be able to see them again (or for the first time) in the cinema in April!

Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, Japan 2001), winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Film, is undoubtedly the most famous title in Hayao Miyazaki’s oeuvre. Shimmering with immense colors, the animated land alludes to Japanese amusement parks being built during the prosperity of the 1980s. The film’s town is a symbolic place where Shintoist tradition and middle-class consumerism meet. The magical shuffling of worlds takes place here in accordance with Miyazaki’s working method of guiding the plot from association to association. It is worth embarking on your journey into Japanese animation with this title as it encapsulates the vibrant creativity characteristic of Hayao Miyazaki’s works.

Timeless Film Festival Warsaw also includes Ponyo (Gake no Ue no Ponyo, Japan 2008), winner of the Venice Film Festival Special Prize and one of the few Hayao Miyazaki animations that can be shown to the youngest children without fear. Despite the low age threshold, the filmmaker doesn’t simplify script dilemmas or abandon horror scenes. On weekend festival mornings, screenings for the whole family will feature Hiroyuki Morita’s The Cat Returns (Neko no Ongaeshi, Japan 2004), a film showcasing the motor skills and agility of cats in all their elegance and wit, and Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s The Secret World of Arrietty (Karigurashi no Arrietty, Japan 2010), an adaptation of Mary Norton’s novel The Borrowers.

The festival will feature another triumph of Miyazaki’s imagination after Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle (Hauru no Ugoku Shiro, Japan 2004) or finally Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime, Japan 1997), considered by many to be the director’s crowning achievement. Combining two elements – the destructive urge of humanity and the wild call of nature — the plot is reminiscent of Avatar. However, in contrast to Avatar, Princess Mononoke is much more subtle — both in purport and in its sparing use of digital techniques.

For the most persistent fans of Miyazaki’s work, festival organizers have prepared a Saturday night marathon of three of the director’s films. Timeless Film Festival Warsaw passes are now available for purchase!

Remember: the complete program of Timeless Film Festival Warsaw will be announced at noon tomorrow. Get ready for even more timeless cinema!

Remember: the complete program of Timeless Film Festival Warsaw will be announced at noon tomorrow. Get ready for even more timeless cinema!

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