We’ve stated before in these pages that we don’t believe that Hayao Miyazaki is actually retired. Nevertheless, it’s never a bad time to revisit his weird, gorgeous animated films. The Modern now gives you and your kids the chance to do just that with Miyazaki at the Modern, a month-long event showing five of the Japanese master’s great films.
Strangely enough, the festival doesn’t include Ponyo, one of his best and most kid-friendly films. Still, his early work Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind kicks things off this Saturday, while the helplessly lovable My Neighbor Totoro and the underappreciated Kiki’s Delivery Service come next week. The screenings conclude with the complex environmental fable Princess Mononoke. Purists won’t like the fact that only Spirited Away is screening in the original Japanese language, but since Miyazaki’s films have somehow failed to catch on with American audiences, accessibility is important. Plus, you can hear Hollywood talent like Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst, Billy Bob Thornton, Patrick Stewart, Uma Thurman, Dakota and Elle Fanning, and others on the soundtracks.
And, of course, there’s Miyazaki’s fantasy worlds. Filled with fabulous creatures springing from the master’s endlessly inventive imagination, these hand-drawn works of genius are entries into a wondrous world entirely apart from what Hollywood shows us.