Castles in the Sky: Miyazaki, Takahata and the Masters of Studio Ghibli
April 13–June 17

This nearly comprehensive retrospective of Japan's greatest animation studio, Studio Ghibli (often referred to as the Disney of Japan), presents a unique opportunity for audiences to see the masterworks of Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata and others on the big screen. Series made possible by GKIDS.

Castles in the Sky: Miyazaki, Takahata and the Masters of Studio Ghibli is co-presented with the Freer Gallery of Art (, the National Gallery of Art ( and the Japanese Information Center ( For information on additional screenings taking place at those venues, visit their Web sites.

Films shown at AFI Silver will be English-dubbed versions except where noted.

 AFI Member passes accepted at all screenings in the Castles in the Sky series.

New 35mm Prints!

Roger Ebert has called this "one of the five best movies" ever made for children. Two sisters move with their father to a new house in the countryside to be closer to their hospitalized mother. They soon discover that the surrounding forest is home to a family of totoros — giant, magical bunny-like creatures who live in a camphor tree and can only be seen by children. Befriending the totoros, the girls embark on a series of adventures, exploring the forest high and low. Beneath the film's playfulness and narrative simplicity lie depths of wisdom — as with much of Hayao Miyazaki's work, at its core this film is about humankind's relationship to the earth. (Courtesy of IFC Center) Dubbed version featuring voices by Dakota and Elle Fanning.

DIR/SCR Hayao Miyazaki; PROD Toru Hara. Japan, 1988, color, 86 min. RATED G


*Screening features introduction by Helen McCarthy, author of "Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation."

English-dubbed: Fri, Apr 13, 2:30; Sat, Apr 14, 11:00 a.m.*; Mon, Apr 16, 5:15
In Japanese with English subtitles: Sat, Apr 21, 11:10 a.m.--just added!, 3:00; Sun, Apr 22, 11:00 a.m.; Thu, Apr 26, 7:00


New 35mm Print!

Set in a devastated future world decimated by atmospheric poisons and swarming with gigantic insects, this is the story of a young princess, both brave and innocent, whose love for all living things and passionate determination to understand the processes of nature lead her into terrible danger, sacrifice and eventual triumph. Like most Studio Ghibli films, there is neither good nor evil, but conflicting viewpoints, weaknesses and power struggles. This debut film from Hayao Miyazaki is considered by many to be his masterwork — and there are few films, animated or otherwise, of such sweeping scope and grandeur. (Courtesy of IFC Center) Featuring voices by Uma Thurman, Patrick Stewart and Shia LaBeouf.

DIR/SCR Hayao Miyazaki; PROD Rick Dempsey, Isao Takahata. Japan, 1984, color, 116 min. RATED PG


*Screening features introduction by Helen McCarthy, author of "Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation."

Sat, Apr 14, 2:45*; Mon, Apr 16, 7:00

CASTLE IN THE SKY [天空の城ラピュタ]
New 35mm Print!

Fantastic realms, magic, the joy of flight and the palpable love of nature: Studio Ghibli's inaugural production has all the elements that make Hayao Miyazaki's films beloved around the world. When a girl mysteriously falls from the sky and directly into his arms, a boy becomes involved in a wild adventure involving a secret floating city, pirates, giant robots and amazing flying contraptions. "A modernistic sci-fi fable with a subtle ecological message." — Richard Harrington, The Washington Post. Featuring voices by Anna Paquin, James Van Der Beek, Cloris Leachman and Mark Hamill.

DIR/SCR Hayao Miyazaki; PROD Isao Takahata. Japan, 1986, color, 124 min. RATED PG


English-dubbed: Fri, Apr 20, 4:30; Sat, Apr 21, 12:30; Tue, Apr 24, 6:30
Japanese with English subtitles: Sun, Apr 22, 9:30--just added!

New 35mm Print!

A young witch-in-training named Kiki sets out to seek her fortune, aided by her flying broom and her faithful black cat Jiji. Settling in a picturesque seaside village, Kiki takes a job as a delivery girl for a bakery, later starting her own business, a flying-broom-powered delivery service. In a moment of self-doubt, Kiki loses her magic; now she must persevere and innovate using all the power of her imagination and self-reliance. Featuring voices by Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman and Janeane Garofalo.

DIR/SCR/PROD Hayao Miyazaki; SCR based on the novel by Eiko Kadono. Japan, 1989, color, 102 min. RATED G


Fri, Apr 27, 5:10; Sat, Apr 28, 11:00 a.m.; Sun, Apr 29, 9:45--just added!;
Mon, Apr 30, 12:35--just added!; Wed, May 2, 12:35--just added!

New 35mm Print!

A period piece that beautifully evokes both the 1960s and 1980s, and the quintessential drama of Japanese school-day nostalgia. Realizing she is at a crossroads in her life, bored twentysomething Taeko heads for the countryside. The trip dredges up forgotten childhood memories which unfold in flashback to younger years: the first stirrings of romance, the onset of puberty and the frustrations of math and boys. In lyrical switches between the present and the past, Taeko wonders if she has been true to the dreams of her childhood self. Studio Ghibli is known for its female heroines, but here they delve deeper into the real emotional experiences of girls/women than perhaps any animated film before or since. (Courtesy of IFC Center)

DIR/SCR Isao Takahata; PROD Yasuyoshi Tokuma. Japan, 1991, color, 118 min. In Japanese with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Wed, May 2, 7:00; Sun, May 6, 12:30--just added!

New 35mm Print!

The title character of this "enthralling, endearing and mesmerizing piece of animation cinema" (Tom Mes, "The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film") is a swashbuckling tough guy aviator who just happens to be a pig. Taking off from his island hideaway, he pilots his bright red plane to do battle with pirates and other evildoers. In this eccentric adventure set in 1920s Italy, Hayao Miyazaki gives free reign to his well-known obsession with airplanes by creating numerous amazing scenes of aerial derring-do. Featuring voices by Michael Keaton and Cary Elwes.

DIR/SCR Hayao Miyazaki; PROD Rick Dempsey, Toshio Suzuki. Japan, 1992, color, 94 min. RATED PG


Sat, Apr 28, 11:05 a.m.--just added!; Sun, Apr 29, 11:05 a.m.--just added!;
Tue, May 1, 12:35--just added; Thu, May 3, 12:35--just added!;
Sat, May 5, 11:30 a.m.; Sun, May 6, 11:00 a.m.

POM POKO [平成狸合戦ぽんぽこ]
New 35mm Print!

In Japanese folklore, the hills and forests teem with tanuki — mysterious, mischievous raccoon-like creatures with the power to change shape. In POM POKO, a forest-dwelling tanuki community of playful idlers and wily cheats rallies into action to defend their homes from the encroachment of a new housing development. The tanuki use their shape-shifting abilities to play a variety of tricks on the construction workers; in need of stronger tactics, they haunt the building site with a dazzling spook show. Featuring voices by J. K. Simmons and Brian Posehn.

DIR/SCR Isao Takahata; SCR Hayao Miyazaki; PROD Ned Lott, Toshio Suzuki, Yasuyoshi Tokuma. Japan, 1994, color, 119 min. RATED PG


Sat, May 12, 11:05 a.m.; Sun, May 13, 11:05 a.m.

New 35mm Print!

This masterpiece was the first and only full-length feature by Hayao Miyazaki's protégé Yoshifumi Kondô before his death at age 47. Shizuku spends her summer vacation before high school reading and translating foreign music into Japanese. Perusing the eclectic selection of books she has checked out from the library, she notices the name Seiji before hers on the checkout card of each one. Through a series of curious and magical incidents, she meets and establishes a connection to Seiji — who dreams of becoming a famous violinmaker in Italy, while she aspires to become a writer. As their goals pull them in different directions, the two are determined to remain true to their feelings for one another. (Courtesy of IFC Center)

DIR Yoshifumi Kondô; SCR Hayao Miyazaki, based on the comic by Aoi Hiiragi; PROD Ned Lott, Toshio Suzuki. Japan, 1995, color, 111 min. RATED G


Sat, May 19, 11:05 a.m.; Sun, May 20, 11:05 a.m.; Mon, May 21, 6:45

New 35mm Print!

This epic fable on ecology and spirituality set a new benchmark in philosophical and artistic sophistication for anime, and catapulted Hayao Miyazaki to international renown. A pack of wolf-gods and their titular warrior princess, a girl they raised from a foundling, defend their forest home from the encroachment of humans and the malefaction of marauding demons. "A landmark feat of Japanese animation from the acknowledged master of the genre." — Janet Maslin, The New York Times. Featuring voices by Claire Danes, Billy Crudup, Gillian Anderson, Minnie Driver and Billy Bob Thornton.

DIR/SCR Hayao Miyazaki; PROD Toshio Suzuki. Japan, 1997, color, 134 min. RATED PG-13


Fri, May 25, 4:20; Sat, May 26, 11:00 a.m.; Sun, May 27, 11:00 a.m.; Mon, May 28, 6:45

New 35mm Print!

Walking home from school one day, schoolgirl Haru sees a odd-looking cat caught in the middle of the road as a truck speeds towards it. Thinking fast and moving even faster, she dashes into the road and scoops the cat to safety. To her surprise, the cat proceeds to rise up on his two hind feet, dust itself off, and thank her for her bravery. So begins Haru's strange adventure with the Cat Prince in the secret Kingdom of Cats. Featuring voices by Anne Hathaway, Kristen Bell, Tim Curry and Andy Richter.

DIR Hiroyuki Morita; SCR Reiko Yoshida, based on the comic by Aoi Hiiragi; PROD Ned Lott, Toshio Suzuki, Nozomu Takahashi. Japan, 2002, color, 75 min. RATED G


Sat, Jun 2, 11:00 a.m.; Sun, Jun 3, 11:00 a.m.

SPIRITED AWAY [千と千尋の神隠し]
New 35mm Print!

Teeming with mythical beasts and complex characters, Miyazaki's masterpiece won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, the Oscar for Best Animated Feature and remains the highest-grossing film in Japan's history. While out exploring, a young girl strays from her parents and stumbles into the spirit world, and is conscripted into working in a fabulous bathhouse where all manner of magical creatures come to relax. Now she must work hard and live by her wits to navigate the perils of her weird workplace and find her way home. "An out-and-out charmer. It's almost impossible to do justice in words either to the visual richness of the movie…or to the character-filled storyline." — Derek Elley, Variety.

DIR/SCR Hayao Miyazaki; PROD Toshio Suzuki. Japan, 2002, color, 125 min. RATED PG


Fri, Jun 8, 4:30; Sat, Jun 9, 12:15, 7:45; Sun, Jun 10, 12:30


New 35mm Print!

In a break from the frequently mythical storytelling of Studio Ghibli, director Isao Takahata wryly tweaks the everyday activities of family life with his depiction of the irresponsible, slovenly and lazy Yamada family and their unassuming way of life. With cartoon-like characters and visual design unlike anything else in the Ghibli canon, the film is illustrated in a series of rough sketches and outlines, which are then filled with soft colors that evoke watercolor painting. (Courtesy of IFC Center)

DIR/SCR Isao Takahata; SCR based on the comic by Hisaichi Ishii; PROD Takashi Shoji, Seiichirô Ujiie. Japan, 1999, color, 104 min. In Japanese with English subtitles. RATED PG


Sat, June 9, 11:00 a.m.; Sun, Jun 10, 11:00 a.m.


A teenager named Sophie has her life turned upside-down when she meets a dashing young wizard named Howl and becomes caught up in a magicians' feud. Although Howl and Sophie have only just met, the jealous Witch of the Waste curses the innocent Sophie and turns her into a 90-year-old woman. Now the prematurely gray and wrinkled youngster must undertake a quest to reverse the curse, climbing aboard Howl's magical moving castle and traveling to mystical realms. 2006 Oscar Nominee, Best Animated Feature. Featuring voices by Christian Bale, Emily Mortimer, Lauren Bacall, Jean Simmons and Billy Crystal.

DIR/SCR Hayao Miyazaki, based on the novel by Diana Wynne Jones; PROD Rick Dempsey, Ned Lott, Toshio Suzuki. Japan, 2004, color, 119 min. RATED PG


Fri, Jun 15, 7:00; Sat, Jun 16, 1:15; Sun, Jun 17, 11:00 a.m.