by Christopher Runyon
While Miyazaki’s films leaned towards the more fantastical, Takahata’s films continued to remain grounded in reality. If you thought My Neighbor Totoro was a lovingly meandering exercise on small moments, Only Yesterday is the animation company’s most outright cribbing of the styles and themes of Yasujiro Ozu and Kenji Mizoguchi, offering a very Japan-centric story (the film still hasn’t been released in North America after over two decades) that’s simply a slice-of-life portrayal of a woman’s childhood in Tokyo and her time spent in the countryside as an adult.
It’s considered, like many of Ghibli’s previous films, to be a significant leap forward in “progressive anime.” The film is primarily an adult drama, bent on realism, and from a largely female perspective, all of which were rare in Japanese animation at the time. Only Yesterday is very influential in the world of anime. “Slice of life” is now considered a sub-genre of sorts, and it’s gotten more popular over the years thanks to its success. While I wouldn’t put it in the pantheon of Ghibli’s greatest accomplishments, it deserves more international recognition.
It’s a new thing I wrote! Read onwards! This Ghibli Retrospective train is just getting started!
compiled by Sam Fragoso
Before drafting your annual “best films of the year” list, you’re probably attempting to consume as much 2013 cinema as humanly possible. But what exactly should you be watching? For those don’t have the luxury of living in a metropolitan area, your choices at the cineplex are a bit limiting. With that in mind, we’ve created a shortlist of 25, critically acclaimed films (save for Only God Forgives) that opened in U.S. theaters over the past year and are now available to stream on Netflix Instant (American). We hope this streaming cheat sheet proves to be helpful in directing you to some quality cinema.
This thing is so handy. Use it for your own (nefarious) purposes.