After famed filmmaker and animation maestro Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement from feature filmmaking in 2013, the future of the acclaimed animation company he co-founded, Studio Ghibli, was very much up for debate. The studio’s other co-founder, Isao Takahata, released what was to be his final film, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, in 2014 here in the States, and what many assumed would be the last Ghibli feature ever, When Marnie Was There, was released in this country this year. It’s a sad time in film if we no longer have any Ghibli movies to look forward to. But fear not, friends! Ghibli isn’t quite gone yet.
It’s been reported that Studio Ghibli is currently hard at work at a new feature film, The Red Turtle, a co-production with Europe’s Wild Bunch under the direction of Dutch filmmaker Michael Dudok de Wit, who won an Oscar for his 2000 animated short, Father and Daughter. The film is also written by a Frenchman, Pascale Ferran, but that’s not to say there will be no creative heads. Takahata himself has signed on as artistic producer for the film, and visuals are being done specifically at Studio Ghibli in Tokyo. In fact, for a portion of production, de Wit relocated to Japan to be near the animations. No reason not to surround yourselves with greatness, eh?
This certainly isn’t the first time Ghibli has produced Western material, including Miyazaki’s own Howl’s Moving Castle, his son’s Tales from Earthsea, and the aforementioned When Marnie Was There, directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi. The Red Turtle will, however, be the first Ghibli film not directed by someone from outside of Asia. People watch a Studio Ghibli movie for a certain tone but also a style and sensibility. We shall see if this leads to more collaborations or if Ghibli will be forever changed.
According to the official synopsis, “The dialogue-less film follows the major life stages of a castaway on a deserted tropical island populated by turtles, crabs, and birds.” Of which, I’m assuming, the giant reptile of the title is one. The film is in production now and is expected to be released in Japan in September 2016. No word yet on release dates for other countries.
What do you think of a Euro-Ghibli merger? Is any new work from the studio worth seeing? Let us know in the comments below!
HT: Rocket News
Image: Arte France Cinéma, Wild Bunch, Studio Ghibli