With Hayao Miyazaki announcing his retirement and Studio Ghibli‘s future being called into question, it’s been a gloomy year for the animation industry. While this may not be the end of the studio, it feels like the end of an era. For nearly 30 years the studio has been turning in one animated classic after another. At least now we can catch a glimpse of magic behind the legendary studio and its two resident masters at work.
Mami Sunada‘s (“Death of a Japanese Salesman“) documentary “The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness” provides a rare look at the inner workings of Studio Ghibli. It follows Miyazaki as he completes his final feature, “The Wind Rises.” You also follow the studio’s other master director Isao Takahata (“Grave of the Fireflies”) as he simultaneously works on his own swan song, “The Tale of Princess Kaguya.” Here’s the official synopsis:
Granted near-unfettered access to the notoriously insular Studio Ghibli, director Mami Sunada follows the three men who are the lifeblood of Ghibli – the eminent director Hayao Miyazaki, the producer Toshio Suzuki, and the elusive and influential “other director” Isao Takahata – over the course of a year as the studio rushes to complete two films, Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises and Takahata’s The Tale of The Princess Kaguya. The result is a rare ‘fly on the wall’ glimpse of the inner workings of one of the world’s most celebrated animation studios, and an insight into the dreams, passion and singular dedication of these remarkable creators.
“The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness” opens at the IFC Center on November 28th and will be available on VOD December 9th. Watch below.