The Savoy Theater is screening The Tale of Princess Kaguya! We’ve been hearing good things about this film from critics:
Japanese animation master Isao Takahata draws inspiration from a 10th-century folk tale about a young woman who magically comes to Earth from the moon. Eight years in the making at Japan’s famed Studio Ghibli, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya sits easily alongside other popular examples of the genre. The fluid, hand-drawn animation has the quality of Japanese hand-painted scrolls. The pastel watercolors and line drawings are enhanced with splashes of more vibrant hues — a flitting bluebird, brilliant diaphanous kimonos, luminous cherry trees in full bloom.
The film begins as a childless bamboo cutter working in the woods discovers a shaft of light emanating from a bamboo shoot. Inside rests a sweet, doll-like creature that he takes home to his wife. The lovely image quickly morphs into a human baby, a change that he and his doting wife only momentarily question before adopting her as their own. They name her Princess, and magical things happen as the new mother well into middle age discovers she can breast feed, while the baby grows at a surprisingly fast rate.
The second half of the story has much to say about a woman’s role in a male-dominated society. As Princess battles with her sense of duty to her parents, her independent side prods her to revolt. This clash brings about in her a palpable sadness that turns the story into one of sorrow, loss and eternal yearning. But in the end, it’s the beautiful and breathtaking animation that gives Princess Kaguya a luster that is both simple and sophisticated. Once again the visionary Takahata and Studio Ghibli prove that great animation is not just for kids, but can be universal in its reach.
The movie will screen at 6 and 8:30 nightly, and there’s 1:00 and 3:30 matinees on Saturdays and Sundays.