Whisper of the Heart
Mimi wo sumaseba
Something different from Studio Ghibli, this is for the most part an uncannily naturalistic slice of teenage life, a first love story about bookish schoolgirl Shizuku, who becomes absorbed in the mystery of a fellow student whose name appears on the library index card of nearly every volume she checks out. In a parallel, and related, story, a fat cat, Mutu, leads her to the doorstep of an antique shop, and eventually romance blossoms.
This was the only film directed by Yoshifumi Kondo, a Miyazaki protege who died tragically young in 1998. Whisper of the Heart is a worthy testament to his prodigious talent. The film is a realistic yet breathtakingly lovely portrait of modern day Tokyo, and to the stirrings of creativity and love in the young. Miyazaki scripted from a manga by Aoi Hiragi, and also directed a fantasy sequence late in the story. Incidentally, John Denver’s ballad “Take Me Home, Country Roads” never sounded better.
Our matinee family-friendly shows will feature the English-language version, all ages welcome. Evening screenings will play in Japanese with English subtitles.
A beautiful film.
David Jenkins, Time Out
The film also unforgettably repurposes John Denver’s Country Roads, and applies it to everyday Japanese life via a number of covers. If that sounds too good to be true, it’s not. It totally works somehow.
Suzette Smith, The Stranger
Evening: In Japanese with English subtitles