Memories of Home in Princess Kaguya

Isao Takahata boasts a catalog so laudable that it seems strange to see him as any kind of “unsung” director, but given he spent so much of his career working alongside Hayao Miyazaki, it makes sense that he’d end up coming off as the quiet genius of Studio Ghibli. In contrast with Miyazaki’s universally appealing and often family-friendly films, Takahata directs stranger, more idiosyncratic productions, from the devastating Grave of the Fireflies to the nostalgic Only Yesterday, and even a passion project about a series of rural canals. So it remains with his final film, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, which was released close enough to Miyazaki’s own The Wind Rises to again be dwarfed in public consciousness. And yet, like so much of his work, Kaguya possesses an incredibly distinct beauty, and in its own way speaks to the rustic, nostalgic sensibilities that seem to unite Takahata and Miyazaki.

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