CASTLE IN THE SKY
TENKU NO SHIRO RAPYUTA
1986, Studio Ghibli, 124 min, Japan, Dir: Hayao Miyazaki

Don't miss this rare opportunity to see one of Hayao Miyazaki's most stunningly beautiful, exciting and infrequently screened films. A young girl with a mysterious crystal pendant falls out of the sky and into the arms and life of young Pazu. Together they search for a floating island in the sky, site of a long-dead civilization promising enormous wealth and power to those who can unlock its secrets. CASTLE IN THE SKY is an early masterpiece of storytelling and filmmaking whose imaginative and ornately detailed vision presaged later films like PRINCESS MONONOKE and SPIRITED AWAY.


THE CAT RETURNS
NEKO NO ONGAESHI
2002, Studio Ghibli, 75 min, Japan, Dir: Hiroyuki Morita

In this sequel to WHISPER OF THE HEART, quiet suburban schoolgirl Haru is pitched into a fantastical feline world and must find her inner strength to make her way back home. Walking with her friend after a dreary day at school, Haru eyes a cat with a small gift box in its mouth. Attempting to cross a busy street, the cat fumbles the package in the middle of the road as a truck is rapidly bearing down. Haru manages to scoop the cat away to safety. To her amazement, the cat then gets up on its hind legs, brushes itself off and thanks her very politely. Strange behavior indeed, but this is nothing compared to what happens later that evening when the King of Cats shows up in a feline motorcade replete with vassals, maidens, and even Secret Service cats. In a show of gratitude for saving his son’s life, the king cat showers Haru with gifts - including a large supply of individually wrapped live mice - and decrees that she shall marry the cat prince and come to live as a princess in the secret Kingdom of Cats.


OCEAN WAVES
UMI GA KIKOERU
1993, Studio Ghibli, 72 min, Japan, Dir: Tomomi Mochizuki

This subtle, poignant and wonderfully detailed story of adolescence and teenage isolation is rarely seen outside of Japan. Taku and his best friend Yutaka are headed back to school for what looks like another uneventful year. But they soon find their friendship tested by the arrival of Rikako, a beautiful new transfer student from Tokyo, whose attitude vacillates wildly from flirty and flippant to melancholic. When Taku joins Rikako on a trip to Tokyo, the school erupts with rumors, and the three friends are forced to come to terms with their changing relationships. OCEAN WAVES was the first Studio Ghibli film directed by someone other than studio founders Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, as director Tomomi Mochizuki led a talented staff of younger employees in an adaptation of Saeko Himuro’s best-selling novel. Full of shots bathed in a palette of pleasingly soft pastel colors and rich in the unexpected visual details typical of Studio Ghibli’s most revered works, OCEAN WAVES is an accomplished teenage drama and a true discovery. Not available in any North American home viewing formats.


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