Studio Ghibli, the creators of Spirited Away, are finally bringing their latest film to British screens. The UK trailer for When Marnie Was There is streaming exclusively on Dazed, and the full feature will be gracing our cinema screens from June 10.
Ghibli presides over the Japanese animated film market with Disney-sized dominance: it’s responsible for eight of the 15 highest-grossing anime films of all time. But the Tokyo studio’s latest trailer is a gentle reminder that they have spent three decades crafting films that are truly unique.
In fact, the film’s plot could be summarised on the back of an animation cel. An introverted, asthmatic 12-year-old drifts between a salt marsh and a dilapidated mansion. She develops an infatuation with the only inhabitant of the abandoned house, an ethereal child named Marnie who “may or may not be real”. And that’s more or less it. The joy of Ghibli’s latest project is in its sumptuous colouring and watercolour-soft lines, just as much as it is in the whispered dialogue.
Dubbed in English (the Japanese release came out last year in their country) the animators have Dazed cover star Kiernan Shipka, Hailee Steinfeld, Kathy Bates and John C Reilly to voice the production, making up a brand new cast.
Marnie was the last film produced by the animation studio before venerated director Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement in 2014. Ghibli has been on artistic hiatus ever since, but a two-year trans-Pacific lag means that British fans of Princess Mononoke and Grave of the Fireflies have one final treat in store.
The post-Marnie future isn’t entirely bleak, though: a rumour that the studio was shutting down altogether was debunked by Miyazaki himself. And Ghibli junkies can get a further fix at the Studio Ghibli Forever Season. Films from the Japanese masters’ back catalogue, from 1984’s seminal Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (written and directed by Miyazaki before Ghibili was officially founded)through to the studio’s 1986 debut Laputa Castle in the Sky and 2013’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguyawill be playing in cinemas nationwide from the end of April.
When Marnie Was There is in UK cinemas from June 10. The Studio Ghibli Forever Season runs April 29–July 22 at Picturehouse Cinemas and elsewhere across the UK