Legendary director Hayao Miyazaki is coming out of retirement to make one more film for Studio Ghibli. He originally announced he was working on a new project in 2017. In a recent New York Times interview, we got a cryptic update that it’s still underway. Though the auteur has retired a few times before – one of those work pauses led to “Spirited Away” – the filmmaker has decided he has at least one more feature left in him.
In 2013 he retired again, this time for a longer bout. Yet he clearly couldn’t keep away. For those unaware Miyazaki is INCREDIBLY involved in the production of his films. He still draws many of the frames himself and certainly gives input via drawovers.
At 80, it is a delight to hear the animation titan has decided to make another film. His films have left a behemoth mark on the entire film industry. Without Studio Ghibli, we wouldn’t have Pixar films.
Miyazaki’s films have explored environmentalism, grief, gender inequality, industrialization, and of course all the aspects of childhood. They transcend language and culture. “Spirited Away” was the first non Western film to win the Best Animated Picture at the Academy Awards.
“How Do You Live?”
There are limited details on his upcoming project. He’s acknowledged that it’s based on a 1937 novel, “How Do You Live?,” by Genzaburo Yoshino. The protagonist is a 15 year old boy whose father has recently passed away. The novel was recently translated into English for the first time.
The source material was actually banned in Japan. The Japanese government of the 1920s and 1930s was cracking down on any anti-authoritarian or “perniciously Western” ideas expressed in artwork. Yoshino ended up doing 18 months in prison for his “socialist thinking.” His book was taken out of circulation for a time in the 1940s.
Miyazaki has said that “How Do You Live?” was a highly influential book to him. It’s no surprise that the philosophical themes packaged through the lens of budding adulthood would appeal to him and draw him out of retirement.
When asked if we’ll get an answer to the titular question, Miyazaki merely responded: “I am making this movie because I do not have the answer.”
If you are a Miyazaki fan, we highly suggest checking out the Studio Ghibli exhibit currently on display at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angles, CA.