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The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

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The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
North American Theatrical Poster
Directed by Isao Takahata[1]
Produced by Yoshiaki Nishimura
Toshio Suzuki
Seiichiro Ujiie
Written by Isao Takahata
Riko Sakaguchi
Based on The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter
Starring Aki Asakura
Kengo Kora
Takeo Chii
Nobuko Miyamoto
Music by Joe Hisaishi
Production
company
Distributed by Toho
Release dates
  • November 23, 2013 (2013-11-23) (Japan)
  • October 17, 2014 (2014-10-17) (United States)
Running time 137 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Budget ¥5 billion (US$49,300,000)[2]
Box office ¥2.5 billion (US$24,563,871)

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (かぐや姫の物語 Kaguya-hime no Monogatari) is a 2013 Japanese animated film produced by Studio Ghibli and directed and co-written by Isao Takahata, based on the folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.[3][4] It is Takahata's fifth film for Studio Ghibli, and his first since My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999).

Plot

Okina, a bamboo cutter, discovers a miniature girl inside a glowing bamboo shoot. Believing her to be a divine presence, he takes her home; he and his wife, Ona, decide to raise her as their own, calling her "Princess". The girl grows rapidly and conspicuously, marveling her parents and earning her the nickname "Little Bamboo" from the other children in the village. Sutemaru, the oldest among Kaguya's friends, develops a particularly close relationship with her.

Okina comes upon gold and fine cloth in the bamboo grove in the same way he found his daughter, taking these as proof of her divine royalty. He begins planning to make her a proper princess. Her life in the mountains ends abruptly as Okina and Ona relocate her to the capital. She finds herself in a mansion, replete with servants and fine clothes. She also finds herself saddled with a coach in femininity named Lady Sagami, who is tasked with taming her into a proper noblewoman. She struggles with the restraints of nobility, arguing that life should be full of laughter and struggle.

When she comes of age, a royal priest grants her the formal name of "Princess Kaguya" for the light and life that radiates from her. Okina holds a celebration in commemoration of Kaguya's naming, though overhearing partygoers' unkind conversations sends Kaguya into despair; she flees the capital and runs back to the mountains, seeking Sutemaru and her other friends, but finds that they have all moved away. Kaguya passes out in the snow, only to awaken suddenly back at the party, not missed at all.

Kaguya grows in beauty, attracting scores of would-be suitors. Okina is delighted by the mass of prospective husbands, but Ona is less enthusiastic and Kaguya entirely uninterested. Five men of noble standing court her, comparing her to mythical treasures. Sensing their insincerity, she turns them away by demanding these impossible treasures as gifts. When one of the would-be suitors is killed in his quest, Kaguya falls into depression. Eventually, the Emperor himself takes notice of her, visiting her in person. Taken with her beauty, he makes advances toward her, revolting her. Kaguya then demonstrates the uncanny ability to disappear at will, surprising the Emperor. Understanding that he has been too forward, the Emperor takes his leave, determined to still make Kaguya his.

Kaguya's melancholy worsens, worrying Okina and Ona. Okina sadly tells her that he hoped a life of nobility would make her happy, but she remains distraught. She finally reveals that she has learned that she originally came from the Moon. When the Emperor made his advances, she silently begged the Moon to help her and learned the truth: Once a resident of the Moon, she broke its laws, hoping to be exiled to Earth, so that she could truly experience life. Now having heard her prayer, the Moon will reclaim her on the fifteenth night of the lunar month, during the full moon. Kaguya confesses her attachment to Earth and her reluctance to leave.

Okina swears to protect her and begins assembling defensive forces. Ona returns with Kaguya to her hometown in the mountains once more. There, Kaguya finds Sutemaru and tells him she would have been happiest with him; Sutemaru vows to protect her, come what may, and they run away together through the mountains until they magically take to the air. However, when the Moon shines upon her, Kaguya begs Sutemaru to hold her tightly. Despite Sutemaru's best efforts, Kaguya is torn from his grasp out of the sky. He awakens alone in a field, and, convinced that it had been a dream, returns to his wife and child. Kaguya sadly returns home to the capital with Ona.

On the fateful night of the full moon, a celestial delegation descends from the Moon. Despite Okina's best efforts, the divine force is unstoppable as it sweeps in unperturbed, putting most everyone to sleep. A Buddha-like figure directs some sprites to ferry Kaguya to them; they entrance Kaguya, who glides away, much to Ona's horror. She rises to the Moon entourage, from which an attending apsara offers her a crown and a robe that will erase her memories of Earth. Kaguya puts on the crown, but is stayed from the robe by her parents' cries. She begs the attendant to grant her a last moment with Okina and Ona.

The apsara assures her that upon returning to the Moon, she will be free of Earth's impurities. Kaguya rebuffs her, saying that Earth is full of wonder and life, embracing her parents. The attendant then drapes the robe around her, and Kaguya's expression goes blank, forgetting about her life on Earth. She resumes her seat in the entourage and they ascend to the Moon, leaving Okina and Ona distraught.

Despite her apparent detachment from the Earth, Kaguya looks back one last time, with tears in her eyes, before the group disappears into the light of the Moon.

Cast

Japanese cast

English dub cast

Production

Studio Ghibli revealed that Isao Takahata was working on a feature-length film in 2008.[6] Takahata announced at the 62nd Locarno International Film Festival that he intended to direct a film based on the Japanese folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.[7]

The release of The Tale of The Princess Kaguya was finally confirmed by Studio Ghibli and distributor Toho on 13 December 2012.[8] That same month, it was announced that Shin'ichirō Ikebe was to compose the film's score.

On February 4, 2013, it was also announced that Joe Hisaishi would write the film's score, effectively replacing Ikebe as the film's composer. This is the first time that Hisaishi will score a film by Isao Takahata; as well as compose for two Studio Ghibli films in the same year, the other being Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises.[9]

In May 2013, it was announced Kazumi Nikaidō (二階堂和美 Nikaidō Kazumi) would perform the film's theme song, "Inochi no Kioku" (いのちの記憶, Memory of Life).[10]

Release

The Tale of The Princess Kaguya was initially announced to be released simultaneously with Hynden Walch, and Dean Cain also have supporting roles in the English dub. It was released in select theatres in North America on October 17, 2014 and will be also released on DVD and Blu-ray in Japan on December 3, 2014.[15][16]

The film was selected to be screened as part of the Directors' Fortnight section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.[17] Its North American premiere took place at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival as part of the festival's "Masters" program.[18]

Reception

By January 5, 2014, the film had grossed ¥2,014,535,721 (US$19,345,586) at the Japanese box office.[19] By January 19, it had grossed ¥2.21 billion (US$21.19 million).[20] By February 2, the film had grossed ¥2,313,602,733 (US$22,613,153) at the Japanese box office.[21]

In February 2014 it placed 4th in both Kinema Junpo's Best Ten and their Reader's Choice Awards.[22]

Reviews timed with the North American release have been overwhelmingly positive. David Ehrlich of The A.V. Club gave the film an A, deeming it "the best animated movie of the year," adding that it is "destined to be remembered as one of the revered Studio Ghibli’s finest achievements."[23] The New York Times praised the artwork calling it "Exquisitely drawn with both watercolor delicacy and a brisk sense of line".[24]

It currently has a fresh 100% on Rotten Tomatoes with 55 reviews.

Accolades

List of Awards and Nominations
Year Award Category Recipients and nominees Results
2013 64th Blue Ribbon Award[25] Best Film Nominated
Best Director Isao Takahata Nominated
68th Mainichi Film Awards.[26] Animation Film Award Won
2014 8th Asia Pacific Screen Award[27] Best Animated Feature Film Yoshiaki Nishimura Pending
37th Japan Academy Prize[28] Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Music Joe Hisaishi Nominated
Kinema Junpo Awards[29] Best Film Nominated
Fantastic Fest [30] Audience Award Won
36th Mill Valley Film Festival [31] Audiece Award for Best Animated Film Won
18th Oslo Films from the South Festival [32] Best Feature Nominated
35th Boston Society of Film Critics Awards [33] Best Animated Film Isao Takahata Won
40th Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards [34] Best Animated Film Isao Takahata Won
2015 42nd Annual Annie Awards[35] Best Animated Feature Pending
Directing in an Animated Feature Production Isao Takahata Pending
Music in a Feature Production Joe Hisaishi Pending

See also

References

  1. ^ かぐや姫の物語 クレジット (in Japanese). Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Kevin Ma (23 July 2014). "Pokemon defeats Ghibli at Japan box office".  
  3. ^ "Ghibli Lists Jobs for Isao Takahata's Summer 2013 Film".  
  4. ^ Russ Fischer (2012-11-21). "Studio Ghibli Titles New Films From Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata; ‘Grave of the Fireflies’ Picked Up For US Re-Release". slashfilm.com. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  5. ^ a b c d かぐや姫の物語 登場人物 (in Japanese). Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Ghibli's Takahata, Goro Miyazaki Developing New Works".  
  7. ^ "Isao Takahata to Base Next Film on Taketori Monogatari".  
  8. ^ ジブリ新作、2作一挙公開!宮崎駿&高畑勲作品でジブリ史上初!. Cinema Today (in Japanese). 2012-12-13. Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  9. ^ "Takahata, Ghibli's Kaguya-Hime Now Lists Composer Hisaishi". Anime News Network. February 7, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2013. 
  10. ^ ジブリ新作『かぐや姫の物語』主題歌決定!現役僧侶の二階堂和美が大抜てき!. Cinema Today (in Japanese). 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  11. ^ a b "Ghibli Announces Miyazaki's Kaze Tachinu, Takahata's Kaguya-hime no Monogatari". Anime News Network. 2012-12-13. Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  12. ^ "高畑勲監督「かぐや姫」公開延期 「絵コンテ完成まだ」". Asahi Shimbun. February 5, 2013. Retrieved February 9, 2013. 
  13. ^ 高畑勲監督「かぐや姫の物語」公開が秋に延期! (in Japanese). Eiga.com. February 4, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2013. 
  14. ^ Amidi, Amid (2014-03-12). "GKIDS Acquires Takahata’s ‘The Tale of The Princess Kaguya’ for U.S. Distribution".  
  15. ^ Amidi, Amid (2014-07-15). "‘Tale Of The Princess Kaguya’ Sets English-Language Voice Cast, October Release Date". Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  16. ^ http://www.slashfilm.com/princess-kaguya-english-language-voice-cast/
  17. ^ "Cannes Directors' Fortnight 2014 lineup unveiled". Screendaily. Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  18. ^ "Isao Takahata's 'Princess Kaguya' to make North American premiere at Toronto film fest". The Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  19. ^ "Japanese Box Office, January 4-5".  
  20. ^ "Japan Box Office Report – 01/18~01/19". tokyohive. 6Theory Media, LLC. January 22, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Japanese Box Office, February 1-2".  
  22. ^ キネマ旬報2下旬決算特別号, pp. 80, 102.
  23. ^ "Studio Ghibli delivers a new masterpiece with The Tale Of Princess Kaguya".  
  24. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/17/movies/the-tale-of-the-princess-kaguya-from-isao-takahata.html?ref=movies
  25. ^ "Blue Ribbon Nominees 2013".  
  26. ^ Kevin Ma (January 21, 2014). "Great Passage, Pecoross top Mainichi Award".  
  27. ^ "APSA Nominees 2014".  
  28. ^ "Wind Rises, Madoka, Lupin vs. Conan, Harlock, Kaguya Earn Japan Academy Prize Nods".  
  29. ^ "Kinema Junpo Nominees 2014".  
  30. ^ "Isao Takahata's 'The Tale of Princess Kaguya' Takes Top Prize at Fantastic Fest".  
  31. ^ "Mill Valley Fest nominees 2014".  
  32. ^ "Oslo Film Festival nominees 2014".  
  33. ^ Davis, Clayton (2014-12-07). "Boston Society of Film Critics Winners – Boyhood Wins Big". AwardsCircuit. Retrieved 2014-12-08. 
  34. ^ Davis, Clayton (2014-12-07). "Los Angeles Film Critics Association Winners – Boyhood Pulls a Sunday Sweep". AwardsCircuit. Retrieved 2014-12-08. 
  35. ^ "42nd Annual Annie Award Nominees". Retrieved December 1, 2014. 

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