For Reel

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)
February 28, 2015, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Isao Takahata
5 Stars
The Tale of the Princess KaguyaWhile Hayao Miyazaki’s artistic vision is defined by his brilliance in dealing with the fantastical and his ecstatic celebration of nature, colleague Isao Takahata grounds his stories in a reality that confronts themes of maturation, sorrow, and loss. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, a beautifully expressionistic fairytale rendered with extraordinary watercolor images, ranks alongside his very best. In moments, the pastel frames–which often melt away before reaching the sides of the image–are elegant and calm, but the brilliance of the visual style is apparent when the very lines that comprise the characters take up a ferocious, turbulent quality in the most emotionally distressing moments. For an aesthetic that is characterized by its simplicity, it is exploited for an incredibly dynamic range of feeling. Besides the brilliance of the images, it’s the ending, in which an ecstatic celebration becomes a symbol of repression, that makes The Tale of the Princess Kaguya truly soar. Although the Princess is confronted with the possibility of a lifetime of bliss, it is clear that in her heart she chooses the messiness of home–it’s the heartbreak, the sorrow, and the dissatisfaction that make life’s joys so transcendental. To rob one’s life of its complexities is to steal one’s spirit.

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