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Must-See Studio Ghibli Retrospective Gets Spirited Away to Portland's Northwest Film Center

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood April 4, 2012 at 1:44PM

The Northwest Film Center in Portland will be the next repertory cinematheque to showcase the excellent 15-film Studio Ghibli program that was made available in the US at the end of 2011. Included in the series are Hayao Miyazaki classics "Spirited Away," "My Neighbor Totoro," and "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind."
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Hayao Miyazaki's "My Neighbor Totoro"
Hayao Miyazaki's "My Neighbor Totoro"

The Northwest Film Center in Portland will be the next repertory cinematheque to showcase the excellent 15-film Studio Ghibli program that was made available in the US at the end of 2011. Included in the series are Hayao Miyazaki classics "Spirited Away" (which won the animation Oscar), "My Neighbor Totoro," "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind," and "Castle in the Sky" (which clearly inspired James Cameron's "Avatar") but also equally magical if lesser-known (and seldom-seen) Ghibli titles such as Yoshifumi Kondo's "Whisper of the Heart" and Isao Takahata's "Only Yesterday."

New York's IFC Center and L.A.'s American Cinematheque (where I am a programmer) screened the series earlier in 2012, and to wildly popular reception. A terrific aspect of the catalogue is the availability of Ghibli films in both the American dubbed and the original Japanese language versions. "My Neighbor Totoro" was already one of my favorite films, having seen it on DVD with the Fanning sisters' voices in the two lead roles, but getting to see the film at Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre, projected on a 50-foot screen, subtitled with the original voice talent, added a whole new dimension.

The downside of the series for repertory houses is the price. Ghibli's asking price for print rental is anywhere from $500 to $1000 per screening, which is feasible (or barely feasible) for certain theatres, many of which are non-profit, and impossible for others.

Portlanders, be sure to check out this amazing Studio Ghibli retrospective -- the Northwest Film Center has made a highly admirable investment in taking on the program, and these films are not to be missed. The prints are all in new condition, and many do not exist on Region 1 home-viewing formats (while most are near-impossible to see in Japanese with English subtitles).

The series runs May 4 - 27. Full list of Ghibli titles screening at the Northwest Film Center:

NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND
MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO
CASTLE IN THE SKY
KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE
ONLY YESTERDAY
PRINCESS MONONOKE
OCEAN WAVES
PORCO ROSSO
MY NEIGHBORS THE YAMADAS
SPIRITED AWAY
POM POKO
HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE
WHISPER OF THE HEART
 

This article is related to: Studio Ghibli, Classics, Animation, Exhibition


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.