Another farewell film from Studio Ghibli as Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday) calls The Tale of the Princess Kaguya his final film. Today I went to a double bill screening at the Cornerhouse with Morayo to see The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (English subtitled version), and Isao Takahata and His Tale of the Princess Kaguya which is a documentary about the making of the film.
Based on a famous 10th Century Japanese folktale titled The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, which is considered the oldest existing Japanese prose. The Tale of The Princess Kaguya centres around a tiny princess who is found by a bamboo cutter inside the bamboo, she turns into a baby and is raised by him and his wife. It’s a tragic story about life and regret that is very much rooted in Japanese culture.
Like Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises it was a very personal project for Takahata. The animation was beautiful, I’ve never seen anything like it. They used messy, rough lined sketches to animate the characters and bring them to life against watercoloured backgrounds. Breaking away from Studio Ghibli’s usual cel animation technique, Isao Takahata explained in the documentary that this was to give the animation passion. The style definitely worked for this film as they could show the character of Princess Kaguya with so much spirit and life. The film is completely unique in its style and mesmerising to watch. The documentary was incredibly interesting, it showed the animation process and all the set backs production had. The film took 8 years to make because of how different the animation is in this film but they definitely ended up making something special.
I loved the character of the Princess Kaguya. She was such an interesting character, longing to live life to the full. She, as a character was very relatable and had a lot of depth and personality which was great to see. She spends much of the film locked up in frustrating traditions and customs that she is desperate to escape from. The whole film was very human centred, it was about human emotion, life and desire.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film. It’s very different to other Ghibli films but very beautiful.