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Good treat for any day: Castle of Cagliostro by Hayao Miyazaki (1979)

May 26, 2011 1 comment

I think some two days back or so, Film4 in the UK offered its viewers a great treat. I, personally, love I guess every work by Miyazaki so I was really happy when I found Castle of Cagliostro on the schedule.

To be honest I don’t normally watch that much TV and even if I start watching during the day, I usually end up with doing something else that is just more important. What happened this time? Well, halfway I had to switch to CBeebies as Waybaloo at 6pm occurs to be one of the everyday evening priorities… BUT! May the inventors of DVD and other home cinema systems stay blessed and happily live their lives in this or any other world (it seems my knowledge of them is very limited, to say the least) forever and ever.

A couple of years ago I met that wonderful lady, an anime expert who I was supposed to work with on a part of certain film festival programme. For many reasons the whole event did not work out which was a great shame but in fact it was she who had opened my eyes to Castle of Cagliostro. And I dare to say I am grateful.

OK, let’s talk about the film now. A flamboyant, international thief, Lupin III and his gang come to the smallest European country of Caliogstro, where he rescues a beautiful princess Clarice from a forced marriage to a count of Cagliostro and solves a mystery of a hidden treasure. Even though the princess is not that beautiful in her old-fashioned hair style… Well, that’s not really the point but I just had to make it… It’s Miyazaki’s feature debut from 1979 when the animator was already 38 and was well known for his work for TV. Here, he got a chance to prove his talent having more screen time to work on, bigger budget and higher production values.

Castle of Cagliostro is funny, witty, romantic, slapstick and adventures. I think only the fact that it’s based on good old series about Lupin III can justify his getaway from the princess at the end of Miyazaki’s film. (Oops, have I just given away the ending??…) Practically, he broke her heart and she didn’t even notice because she’s going to wait for him anyway!… Hm, I think I am just being pragmatic but it may be a matter of age, you know. It always changes one’s perspective, doesn’t it?

Anyway, I always try to recommend here a good source of deeper info on subjects my posts are about. So today I am not going into more details either and simply refer you to a good book on Miyazaki’s films if you are really interested. Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation: Films, Themes, Artistry by Helen McCarthy gives an overview, genesis and general analysis of 7 films from the animator plus discusses his career as well as the system of production Miyazaki works in. The book is from 2003, so the latest productions are not mentioned there. However, still worth checking for the master’s background 🙂

And below, we have the Castle of Cagliostro trailer. Enjoy!

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Kafka’s A Country Doctor by Koji Yamamura (2007)

May 17, 2011 Leave a comment

I just can’t resist myself and have to make one more post today. This piece is not Polish at all. It’s made in Japan and it’s completely stunning, hence I decided to share it with you. It’s amazing visually, has well suited sound and once again reminds that Japan is not only about the mainstream anime.  

Somebody has just happened to remind me about this film and I am really grateful for that. Wiola, huge thank you, if you read this! 🙂

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