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Hayao Miyazaki retrospective at the Academy Museum 3
lmageboard, Castle in the Sky (1986), by Hayao MiyazakiCourtesy of Studio Ghibli, Academy Museum

The Hayao Miyazaki retrospective has officially opened

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures exhibition spotlights the process behind the Studio Ghibli founder’s most beloved films, from My Neighbour Totoro to Howl’s Moving Castle, and more

Studio Ghibli heads, rejoice! Hayao Miyazaki’s major retrospective at the brand new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in LA has officially opened its doors. 

The exhibition marks the grand opening of the Academy Museum (AKA the organisation behind the Oscars). In collaboration with Studio Ghibli, it features over 300 objects from the director’s career, including hand-drawn storyboards, character designs, posters, and film clips. Many of the objects featured in the exhibit have never been seen outside of Japan.

The retrospective also includes Ghibli-themed installations. Visitors enter Miyazaki’s enchanted world through the magical tree tunnel featured in My Neighbour Totoro. There’s also a grassy knoll, where visitors are invited to lie down and look up at a round screen projecting a video of clouds drifting past, as in Kiki’s Delivery Service.

The final section of the exhibition is another tree tunnel leading to the rest of the Academy Museum. Visitors can hear footsteps meant to be those of Chihiro as she leaves the realm of Spirited Away and returns to the real world. In front of the final doorway is the “two-faced Stone Spirit” who wished her good luck on her adventure.

“He’s a cinematic master,” says the Academy Museum’s chief artistic and programming officer Jacqueline Stewart. “Miyazaki is an international filmmaker. We wanted to highlight somebody who really had global appeal and global impact. And one of the things that’s really unique about his work, too, is that it actually does appeal to young people and older generations with equal passion and vision.”

Jessica Niebel, the curator behind the Miyazaki exhibition, explained how she worked with the filmmaker’s Studio Ghibli and the Ghibli Museum in Japan to gather all the materials. “Miyazaki conveys the nuance behind his protagonist’s intentions, and invites viewers to recognise the contradictions of human nature: to act responsibly, show respect and humility, and coexist with the environment.”

Take a look at some of the storyboards and materials in the exhibit above.