Fairymation by Isao Takahata, Japan 2013

From Studio Ghibli (Spirited away, My neighbour Totoro et al) comes the aquarelle animation adaptation of a Japanese folk-tale from the 900’s, in which a simple old bamboo cutter one day finds a tiny princess in a bamboo shoot, a princess that all of a sudden turns into a baby girl. She grows quickly, and the bamboo cutter and his wife do their best to give the girl all she could wish for, as the princess from the heavens that she truly is. But suitors and riches and the lifestyle of a proper lady is not what she wants, and she starts longing for wherever she can call home.

As beauty goes, this one raises the bar. Every cell is a piece of art, carefully hand painted in water colour. The story is gripping, joyous, tear inducing and dramaturgically perfect. A feminist story with origins from feudal Japan that somehow doesn’t feel out of place. To add to this film’s credit, the acting (both the voice acting and the animated facial expressions and body language) is spot on. What’s missing is hard to tell, but to mark it a masterpiece, that little extra something is lacking. That doesn’t stop ‘The tale of princess Kaguya’ from being an awesome and stunningly beautiful film.

Bechdel test: Pass

5 treasures of 6