Studio Ghibli Returns

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  1. Studio Ghibli Returns

From July 5 through August 1, the Gene Siskel Film Center presents Studio Ghibli Returns. Our series of eight films reprises six of the most popular titles from last summer’s Castles in the Sky retrospective, all directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and adds two more: FROM UP ON POPPY HILL by Goro Miyazaki and GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES by Isao Takahata.

Ghibli fans of all ages have discovered the abundant charm and awe-inspiring artistry of Hayao Miyazaki’s extravagant fantasies including SPIRITED AWAY, PRINCESS MONONOKE, CASTLE IN THE SKY, and NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND. His gentle and tolerant visions of childhood have made KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE and MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO enduring classics for many families and adult cinephiles alike.

Takahata’s much-requested tragic masterpiece GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES was not available for theatrical exhibition in the U.S. last year, but we are pleased to add it to this series. The Ghibli legacy looks to be in good hands with next-generation director Goro Miyazaki’s second feature FROM UP ON POPPY HILL, a tender tale of first love and family crisis that makes the most of its detailed and beautifully rendered townscapes.

Trademarks of the Studio Ghibli film include breathtaking visual style, characterizations often derived from Manga (Japanese comic books), a concern for the environment, and a deeply affecting, expansive view of family and community. Studio Ghibli continues to create films through the labor-intensive technique of cell animation, requiring thousands of hours by artist/technicians to draw each frame.

All but two films screen in 35mm prints. Where available, and as noted, we offer the option of seeing films in the original Japanese-language version with English subtitles, or in the English-language version with voices by major stars.

The Gene Siskel Film Center thanks Dave Jesteadt and GKids for assistance in making this series possible.

—Barbara Scharres

Sunday double-bill discount!

Buy a ticket for the first Studio Ghibli film on any Sunday in July, and get a ticket for the second Studio Ghibli film that day at this discount rate (tickets must be purchased at the same time): General Admission $7; Students $6; Members $4. (This discount rate applies to the second film only. Discount rate available only at the Film Center box office.)

SPIRITED AWAY

Showtimes

Fri, Jul 5th at 3:00pm
Sun, Jul 7th at 5:00pm
Thu, Jul 11th at 6:00pm
Average: 4.8 (26 votes)
  1. SPIRITED AWAY
  1. (SEN TO CHIHIRO NO KAMIKAKUSHI)
  2. 2001, Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 125 min.

“Enchanting and delightful…the best animated film of recent years.”
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“A masterpiece, pure and simple.”
—Dave Kehr, The New York Times

With its seductive imagery and haunting story evoking the darkest childhood fears and wishes, SPIRITED AWAY, Japan’s first and only winner of an Oscar for Best Animated Feature, holds up to many viewings. Chihiro, a ten-year-old girl, becomes separated from her parents and lost in what appears to be an abandoned theme park but turns out to be a ghostly spa for gods and nature spirits, ruled by a canny witch. Surrounded by shape-shifting goblins, Chihiro learns to rely on herself as she navigates a world in which nothing is what it seems. On Friday and Sunday in English with voices by Daveigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, Susan Egan, and John Ratzenberger. On Thursday in Japanese with English subtitles. 35mm. (BS)

Friday, July 5, 3:00 pm (English)
Sunday, July 7, 5:00 pm (English)
Thursday, July 11, 6:00 pm (subtitled)

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KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE

Showtimes

Sat, Jul 6th at 5:45pm
Sun, Jul 7th at 3:00pm
Tue, Jul 9th at 6:00pm
Average: 4.8 (19 votes)
  1. KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE
  1. (MAJO NO TAKKYÛBIN)
  2. 1989, Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 102 min.

“One of the most celebrated Japanese family films in recent memory.”
—TV Guide

A teen-age witch-in-training and her “familiar,” a wise-cracking black cat, are at the center of this coming-of-age story, one of Studio Ghibli’s most beloved films for its gorgeous animation and its positive message. Complete with cat and flying broom, young Kiki ventures out into the world to learn her trade. She puts those flying skills to work making deliveries for a baker and his wife in an imaginary European city that Miyazaki brings to life with evocative detail. On Saturday and Sunday in English with voices by Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman, Tress MacNeille, Janeane Garofalo, Brad Garrett, and Debbie Reynolds. On Tuesday in Japanese with English subtitles. 35mm. (BS)

Saturday, July 6, 5:45 pm (English)
Sunday, July 7, 3:00 pm (English)
Tuesday, July 9, 6:00 pm (subtitled)

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GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES

Showtimes

Fri, Jul 12th at 6:15pm
Sun, Jul 14th at 3:00pm
Mon, Jul 15th at 6:00pm
Tue, Jul 16th at 8:00pm
Average: 4.5 (16 votes)
  1. GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES
  1. (HOTARU NO HAKA)
  2. 1988, Isao Takahata, Japan, 89 min.

“**** An emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation.”
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“One of the most shattering anti-war movies ever made, a masterpiece.”
—Scott Macdonald, Eye for Film

Long legendary among Studio Ghibli films, GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES is a paradox. Heartbreaking and wrenchingly tragic, it is also one of the most asked-for and beloved of the studio’s entire output, a film that movingly portrays the plight of two young children as the collateral damage of war. Little Setsuko and twelve-year-old brother Seita are forced to fend for themselves with ingenuity after their mother is killed in a WWII air raid, and face a hostile world in which the sacrifice of the innocent is a function of the survival of the fittest. In Japanese with English subtitles. DCP. (BS)

Friday, July 12, 6:15 pm (subtitled)
Sunday, July 14, 3:00 pm (subtitled)
Monday, July 15, 6:00 pm (subtitled)
Tuesday, July 16, 8:00 pm (subtitled)

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PRINCESS MONONOKE

Showtimes

Sun, Jul 14th at 4:45pm
Thu, Jul 18th at 6:00pm
Average: 4.6 (16 votes)
  1. PRINCESS MONONOKE
  1. (MONONOKE-HIME)
  2. 1997, Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 134 min.

“A great film…one of the most visually inventive films I have ever seen.”
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“A landmark feat…amazing to behold.”
—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Working at the height of his powers, director Miyazaki poured all the skills of his art into this magnificent epic of mythical history set at the dawn of mankind’s Iron Age, when humans and the spirits of nature battled it out for mastery of the earth. Young hero Ashitaka saves his village by slaying a demon with a body of writhing snakes. Marked by a curse as a result, he searches far and wide for the source of the evil, and faces gods, devils, fantastical life forms, and a beautiful girl who rides the back of a gigantic she-wolf. On Sunday in English with voices by Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson, Minnie Driver, Billy Bob Thornton, Jada Pinkett Smith, and John DiMaggio. On Thursday in Japanese with English subtitles. 35mm. (BS)

Sunday, July 14, 4:45 pm (English)
Thursday, July 18, 6:00 pm (subtitled)

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FROM UP ON POPPY HILL

Showtimes

Fri, Jul 19th at 6:00pm
Sun, Jul 21st at 3:00pm
Mon, Jul 22nd at 6:00pm
Average: 4 (4 votes)
  1. FROM UP ON POPPY HILL
  1. (KOKURIKO-ZAKA KARA)
  2. 2011, Goro Miyazaki, Japan, 91 min.

“**** One of the shimmering highlights of the year…it’s pure of heart.”
—Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

“Frankly stunning, as beautiful a hand-drawn animated feature as you are likely see.”
—Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

The future of the Ghibli dynasty is assured in the hands of Hayao Miyazaki’s son Goro, whose FROM UP ON POPPY HILL exhibits all the beauty of spirit, delicacy and colorful detail that have become the Ghibli trademarks. Gentle nostalgia and respect for the past flow from every frame in this film set in the bustling port city of Yokohama in 1963, where plucky schoolgirl Umi manages her mother’s quaint old hilltop boarding house, gets close to a handsome classmate, and discovers a painful family secret that may stand in the way of love. On Friday and Sunday in English with voices by Sarah Bolger, Anton Yelchin, and Gillian Anderson. On Monday in Japanese with English subtitles. DCP. (BS)

Friday, July 19, 6:00 pm (English)
Sunday, July 21, 3:00 pm (English)
Monday, July 22, 6:00 pm (subtitled)

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CASTLE IN THE SKY

Showtimes

Sun, Jul 21st at 4:45pm
Thu, Jul 25th at 6:00pm
Average: 4.8 (17 votes)
  1. CASTLE IN THE SKY
  1. (TENKÛ NO SHIRO RAPYUTA)
  2. 1986, Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 126 min.

“The sort of adventure movie that just keeps giving.”
—Jay Seaver, eFilmCritic.com

“Flawless…the film which truly catapulted Miyazaki to the forefront of world animation.”
—Bill Gibron, PopMatters.com

A soaring sense of flight keeps the thrills coming in this largely airborne adventure that begins with a pirate attack on a fantastical airship, one of the Jules Verne-derived elements that makes this Jonathan Swift-influenced film an early example of steampunk anime. Teaming up with orphaned apprentice miner Pazu and assorted ancient robots, Sheeta, young princess of the lost sky-island Laputa, defends her powerful crystal amulet against kidnappers in an action-packed showdown in the sky. On Sunday in English with voices by Cloris Leachman, Anna Paquin, Mandy Patinkin, Barbara Goodson, and James Van Der Beek. On Thursday in Japanese with English subtitles. 35mm. (BS)

Sunday, July 21, 4:45 pm (English)
Thursday, July 25, 6:00 pm (subtitled)

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MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO

Showtimes

Fri, Jul 26th at 6:15pm
Sun, Jul 28th at 3:00pm
Tue, Jul 30th at 8:15pm
Average: 4.8 (24 votes)
  1. MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO
  1. (TONARI NO TOTORO)
  2. 1988, Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 86 min.

“One of the most beloved of all family films…rich with human comedy…awe-inspiring…enchanting.”
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“Visually arresting and consistently compelling, this movie is magical.”
—Bill Gibron, PopMatters.com

Childlike but not childish, magical but not sinister, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO is a film capable of putting a joyous smile on the face of anyone of any age. In this simple but profound story, two little girls and their dad move into a ramshackle, reputedly haunted house in the country while mom is in the hospital. Encounters with mythical creatures that inhabit the nearby forest, including a gigantic tree spirit, become part of the unfolding of daily life. Miyazaki blends the fearless, innocent adventures of childhood, the wonder of the natural world, and a life-affirming sense of family and community into a most extraordinary tale. On Friday and Sunday in English with voices by Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning, Tim Daly, and Frank Welker. On Tuesday in Japanese with English subtitles. 35mm. (BS)

Friday, July 26, 6:15 pm (English)
Sunday, July 28, 3:00 pm (English)
Tuesday, July 30, 8:15 pm (subtitled)

NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND

Showtimes

Sun, Jul 28th at 4:45pm
Thu, Aug 1st at 6:00pm
Average: 4.9 (17 votes)
  1. NAUSICAÄ OF
  2. THE VALLEY OF THE WIND
  1. (KAZE NO TANI NO NAUSHIKA)
  2. 1984, Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 116 min.

“A delight…manages to expertly juggle philosophical concerns with breathtaking action scenes.”
—Dan Lybarger, eFilmCritic.com

Miyazaki’s second feature, the first for which he had complete artistic control, heralded his trademark environmental themes and strikingly original style. The film stands as his first certified masterpiece. Thanks to mankind’s nuclear-warring ways, the earth has been reduced to a toxic jungle on the edge of an acid sea, but the earth finds a champion in courageous Princess Nausicaä, heir to the throne of a tiny kingdom. Battling an invading queen, killer plants, monster insect mutations and all the gathering forces of aggression, she unlocks the toxic jungle’s amazing secret. On Sunday in English, with voices by Uma Thurman, Alison Lohman, Shia LaBeouf, Patrick Stewart, Edward James Olmos, and Mark Hamill. On Thursday in Japanese with English subtitles. 35mm. (BS)

Sunday, July 28, 4:45 pm (English)
Thursday, August 1, 6:00 pm (subtitled)

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