The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya, film review: Affecting and profound animation

(U) Isao Takahata, 137 mins. Starring: Aki Asakura, Kengo Kora, Takeo Chii
Click to follow

This Oscar-nominated feature comes from Studio Ghibli, the Japanese company best known for its movies from Hayao Miyazaki, who is now retired. The director Isao Takahata, now in his late 70s, co-founded the company and is a legendary figure in Japanese animation in his own right.

One of the great pleasures of The Tale of the Princess Kaguya lies in its difference to Hollywood animation. It has a delicacy and a hand-crafted feel that you won't find in the latest DreamWorks or Pixar blockbuster. Instead of brash primary colours, Takahata uses a pale and watery palette.

The film is based on an ancient Japanese folk tale about a little princess who springs out of a shoot of bamboo. She grows up to be very beautiful and is soon courted by aristocrats and princes. The storyline may seem whimsical but it touches on greed, social climbing, snobbery, self-sacrifice, love and loyalty in a way that is affecting and profound.