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Ghibli: The Miyazaki Temple (2005)

Directed by: Yves Montmayeur
Starring: Toshio Suzuki, Isao Takahata
Links: Ghibli: The Miyazaki Temple on the IMDb
Genre: Short

This movie gets: 7.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Not thoroughly satisfying" - a review by pearly

Though this documentary is named after Hayao Miyazaki, in truth, Ghibli: The Miyazaki Temple is a little all over the place when it comes to the presentation of information, and its real focus is on the Ghibli part of the title, rather than the Miyazaki bit. Studio Ghibli is a Japanese film production company which creates some of the most popular anime films out there. The films that come out of Studio Ghibli all have a lot of heart - they're from a school which appeals to the female audience as well as the male, unlike some of the other futuristic robot type films also common in the anime genre. In this documentary, the director Yves Montmayeur presents an introduction to the studio, and then, through a series of interviews, tries to gain insight onto just why this little studio that could has become such a powerhouse.

The film will probably not appeal to those who are not already fans of Ghibli. While it does introduce the studio as if the viewer had never heard of it, it then gets rather in depth, and really, I cannot see how such a look would appeal to anyone who wasn't already a fan, or had a little information, but was keen to learn more. Having said that, I, of course, am a fan, so what wouldn't be for me to like?

Unfortunately, I did feel that this documentary lacked structure. It seemed to jump all over the place, and didn't really have a point. It began by showing the trailer for Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle (2004), billing it as the big upcoming Ghibli adventure. It then got sidetracked for the better part of the film, talking about and to anyone but Miyazaki, though always subtly referring back to him as being the real master of the studio. And while the documentary was billed as containing an interview with Miyazaki himself, in reality, the interview was actually gleaned from a conversation that he had with another animator - Jean Giraud - at a festival in France. It almost seemed as though Montmayeur had gotten hold of this footage, and though that he could make a film around it, but the footage itself didn't really fit in with the remainder of the film, as it felt as though it had been gotten surreptitiously. Also, the main gist of the conversation that Miyazaki was having was the two talking about each other's work, so while it fit in with some of the rest of the film, which talked about the inspiration / muses of the Ghibli men, it really was a case of not being able to get a real interview with the man, so just making do with what he had.

I am sounding a little harsh though. If you forget the fact that the title of the film is to do with Miyazaki, then there is a bit to learn from this film, and it was worth the price of admission, for me anyway. The interview with Toshio Suzuki, which, interspersed throughout the film, makes up a large percentage of the overall film, is very interesting. He discusses the fact that, while Miyazaki and Isao Takahata often work together, and have formed this company together, their individual styles are quite different. His insight about Miyazaki's films being escapes into fantasy, whilst Takahata's are looks at reality, was apt. We also get to hear a fair bit from Takahata himself, which is great.

Aside from the interviews, there are the snippets of the films themselves, as well as soon footage from inside the Studio Ghibli museum in Mitaka, Japan, which shows just how much both children and adults alike have fallen for these films. And just as anyone would enjoy a documentary about a topic with which they were most fond, I couldn't help but enjoy this film. However, I can also see that it could have been a lot better, and I was left wanting just a bit more.

pearly gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 1 Aug 2005

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