Great news for Studio Ghibli fans! The Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square is having an all-night marathon of Hayao Miyazaki’s magical films this Saturday, the 27th July. They’re in the original language with English subtitles. That’s Saturday night sorted then, right?
But wait a minute. It occurs to me that not everyone reading this is a Ghibli fan. There might be people out there who’ve never seen a Ghibli film. Well, just for you, here’s a quick outline of what to expect. (Ghibli veterans can just skip straight to the end of the post for ticket details).
Ghibli films are what the word ‘charming’ was invented for. Also ‘magical’ and ‘enchanting’. They’re beautifully hand-drawn by artists who bring a deep love of nature and a golden glow of nostalgia to films that celebrate the joys and challenges of an old-fashioned childhood.
The protagonists are generally spirited, independent young girls. They don’t fight evil villains. (Ghibli doesn’t do villains). They encounter strange (mostly friendly) spirits. They grow up; they face up to problems and overcome them; they love their families; they make friends, both human and animal; and they learn how to live. They ache, they struggle, they laugh, they cry – and so will you. In a good way.
There are six films in the marathon:
My Neighbour Totoro
The best ever Ghibli film. It’s the story of two girls who move to the country with their father while their mother is ill in hospital. In the peace and beauty of the countryside they meet the totoro, the spirit of the forest (see the picture at the top of this post to understand just how cuddly and loveable a totoro is), the bizarre cat bus with headlamp eyes and a host of other strange creatures.
Kiki’s Delivery Service
Apprentice witch Kiki is sent to make her way in the world, which she does by delivering things on her broomstick, accompanied by a tiny, irresistible black cat.
The film that gave Ghibli its breakthrough in the west, winning the 2003 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. It’s the story of a young girl who has to rescue her parents, who have been turned into pigs, from the bathhouse of the gods.
Howl’s Moving Castle
Based on the book by English children’s author Diana Wynne Jones. A witch turns the heroine into an old woman. Only narcissistic young wizard Howl can break the spell.
A young boy and a girl with a magic crystal must race against pirates and foreign agents in a search for a legendary floating castle.
An ex World War I fighter ace, turned into a pig by a curse, chases airborne pirates.
The marathon is on Sat 27th July, starting at 9:00pm. Tickets £22.50/£25. Check the cinema website for the running order.
The films are also being shown individually on Sundays, including one not in the marathon, Princess Mononoke, on 28th July.