There is no better way to appreciate the magic of Studio Ghibli than on the big screen! Movie-lovers of all ages will adore this double-bill pairing of two beloved classics from Japan’s famed Studio Ghibli’s master storytellers Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata – PONYO and POM POKO. On Tuesday, May 9, both films will screen in their original Japanese with English subtitles – see one, or see them both!
PONYO is director Hayao Miyazaki‘s (SPIRITED AWAY, PRINCESS MONONOKE) ninth feature, and follows the story of 5-year old Sosuke, the son of a sailor who lives a quiet life on an oceanside cliff with his mother Lisa. One fateful day, he finds a beautiful goldfish trapped in a bottle on the beach and upon rescuing her, names her Ponyo. But she is no ordinary goldfish. The daughter of a masterful wizard and a sea goddess, Ponyo uses her father’s magic to transform herself into a young girl and quickly falls in love with Sosuke, but the use of such powerful sorcery causes a dangerous imbalance in the world. As the moon steadily draws nearer to the earth and Ponyo’s father sends the ocean’s mighty waves to find his daughter, the two children embark on an adventure of a lifetime to save the world and fulfill Ponyo’s dreams of becoming human.
In POM POKO – a brilliant, and often overlooked Studio Ghibli masterpiece from Isao Takahata – the forests are filled with groups of magical tanuki, mischievous raccoon-like animals from Japanese folklore that are capable of shape-shifting from their standard raccoon form to practically any object.
The tanuki spend their days playing idly in the hillsides and squabbling over food – until the construction of a huge new Tokyo suburb clears the nearby forest and threatens their way of life. In an effort to defend their home, the tanuki learn to transform into humans and start playing tricks to make the workers think the construction site is haunted, ending in a spectacular night-time spirit parade, with thousands of ghosts, dragons and other magical creatures descending on the city — in an abundance of fantastical characters that would not be matched on screen by Studio Ghibli until SPIRITED AWAY.
“Its ecological concerns, nuance and occasional lyricism place it squarely within the Ghibli oeuvre but not among its masterpieces.” (The New York Times)