When Marnie Was There

Yonebayashi Hiromasa

Ghibli in Japan was perhaps the best animation studio in the world, but work at the studio stopped last year. Temporarily, we hope. If not, this will be the very last Ghibli film. A beautiful swan song, featuring a grouchy heroine and a mysterious house by the water. Selected by KEES Driessen for Critics' Choice.

For decades, Studio Ghibli was the leading producer of Japanese anime. But since the departure of the two elderly masters Miyazaki Hayao (The Wind Rises) and Takahata Isao (The Tale of the Princess Kaguya) in 2014, the studio has taken a ‘break’. Fans fear that the Ghibli era may now be at an end. If so, When Marnie Was There has been released in the nick of time as a modest but worthy swan song.
Director Yonebayashi Hiromasa (1973) stands firmly in the Ghibli tradition. Note the realistic psychology of the protagonist - a young girl, as is usually the case with Ghibli - the insecure, adopted Anna, who has been taken to the coast because of her asthma. There, she befriends Marnie, a mysterious girl with long blonde hair. Note also the beautifully painted backgrounds, the richness of everyday details, the beauty of wind, water and clouds, and the fantastic nuances of movement. Selected by KEES Driessen for Critics' Choice.

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