27/09/2020

February is the cruellest month, writes Lucy Jones. What better reason to hibernate and enjoy the dark evenings than with fantastical masterpieces at our fingertips?

The news this week that Netflix UK has bought the rights to the Studio Ghibli catalogue was music to everyones ears (except soon-to-be-rival streaming service Disney+, one imagines). From 2 February, 21 films will be available, including Howls Moving Castle, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, Kikis Delivery Service, My Neighbour Totoro and Porco Rosso. To celebrate, cinemas across Britain will screen the much-loved Spirited Away at the end of January and Princess Mononoke at the end of February. 
This latest acquisition is exactly what we need right now. For a start, February is the cruellest month, and what better reason to hibernate and enjoy the dark evenings than with fantastical masterpieces at our fingertips? It will be like welcoming a living room version of a ghibli the Libyan-Arabic word for a hot wind of the Sahara desert  into our homes. (Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata used the word to name their studio because they wanted the films to blow a new wind through the anime industry. Which they did. And some.)
But more widely, the Ghibli canon speaks to our times. Key concerns and themes of Takahata and Miyazakis work are playing out in todays world with Hollywood only just catching up. 
Download the new Independent Premium app
Sharing the full story, not just the headlines
Download now
Often the heroes are female, with complex and nuanced personalities not tied to romance. From Princess Mononoke to the sisters in My Neighbour Totoro, Sophie to Kiki, and even the more incidental characters the women who repair Porcos plane; the female workers in the iron works in Mononoke its standard for a girl or woman to be a significant part of the plot. 
left
Created with Sketch.
right
Created with Sketch.
1/25 25. I Am Mother
Rickety-looking science fiction thriller I Am Mother delivers where it counts with a twisting, turning plot and several genuine surprises. In the far future, a maternal robot (voiced by Rose Byrne) raises a young woman (Clara Rugaard) as her daughter. But when an outsider (Hilary Swank) makes her way to their bunker their perfect life is shattered forever.
2/25 24. Private Life
In Private Life, a bohemian middle-aged couple struggle to have a child. Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti are hilarious and poignant. And the pathos is piled on as twenty-something college drop-out Sadie (Kayli Carter) parachutes into their life. High-jinks follow, though director Tamara Jenkins ensures the existential sadness that has become part of the protagonists daily life never quite fades.
3/25 23. High Flying Bird
Steven Soderbergh has become something of a Netflix regular, with his Meryl Streep-starring The Laundromat recently premiering on the service. His earlier movie High Flying Bird is about a basketball agent (André Holland) in a game of skulduggery between players (mostly black and uneducated) and team owners (white and wealthy). Its a great sports film and also a commentary on the racial and social schisms that divide America.
4/25 22. I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore
A quirky though ultimately quite dark indie movie about two misfits, Ruth (Melanie Lynskey) and Tony (Elijah Wood), on the trail off a burglar who made off with a silver spoon belonging to Ruths grandmother. Whimsical on the surface, I Dont Feel at Home in this World Anymore is in fact a meditation on what happens when youve had enough of lifes fundamental unfairness and lash out.
5/25 21. Triple Frontier
Team-up heist movie Triple Frontier stars Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnum and Pedro Pascal as old marine corps buddies headed to South America for one final pay-day. Its hugely flawed but Affleck is convincing as a guy losing his way amidst divorce and middle age. And JC Chandor (Collateral) directs the action scenes with pizzaz. It comes close to being a great action flick for grown-ups before ultimately fizzling out.
6/25 20. A Futile and Stupid Gesture
Straight-to-video production values dont do it any favours, but A Futile and Stupid Gesture a biopic about the founder of American satirical magazine National Lampoon, Douglas Kenney (Will Forte) has its heart in the right place. Its a by turns poignant and hilarious accent of Fortes rise, his descent into drugs and infidelity and his strained relationship with Lampoon co-founder Henry Beard (an unrecognisable Domhnall Gleeson).
7/25 19. Velvet Buzzsaw
Critics trounced this stylised horror starring Jake Gyllenhaal are a vainglorious art critic. Certainly, as commentary on the vacuousness of the art world its a whole lot of stating the obvious. Yet enjoyed as a Argento-esque OTT romp, Velvet Buzzsaw is a delight, as director Dan Gilroy subjects his victims to a series of ever more absurdist and grisly ends.
8/25 18. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
El Camino would be higher on the list were it not for the fact it really isnt a film. Best thought of as a two-hour Breaking Bad episode, it takes up the story of Jesse Pinkman after hes fled the dying Walter White and driven into the blue yonder. The milieu is the familiar New Mexico underworld of Breaking Bad and its gentler prequel, Better Call Saul. BB fans will nonetheless relish a return, however brief, to the Vince Gilligan expanded universe. Plus all yes ALL your faves from the Ballad of Walter White are back for cameos.
9/25 17. Gerald’s Game
With his Doctor Sleep adaptation forthcoming, Mike Flanagan has established himself as the latter-day top dog off Stephen King retellings. He gave us a taste of what he was capable of via his gruelling adaptation of 1992 King novel Gerald’s Game, which is about a woman (Carla Gugino) who ends up bound to a bed when her husband dies during a sex game. Dont try this at a home or anyone else for that matter kids.
10/25 16. The Incredible Jessica James
Former Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams is a revelation in The Incredible Jessica James, which follows a romantically adrift young playwright who tries to come to terms with a break up by projecting blinding over-confidence. She strikes up an unlikely chemistry with Chris ODowds awkward everyman with results that achieve a rarefied mix of funny and sweet.
11/25 15. Bird Box
Sandra Bullock in a blindfold whispering to two terrified children might not sound like the stuff of blockbuster gold. Sci-fi horror Bird Box is certainly flawed. It also had the ill fortune to come out six months after the thematically adjacent A Quiet Place. Nonetheless, theres an undeniable pulpy thrill to this tale of aliens that drive you mad on sight (hence the blind-folds). Keep an eye out, too, for a fantastic cameo from Tom Hollander.
12/25 14. Always Be My Maybe
Ali Wong and Randall Park play former childhood sweethearts from San Fransisco whose lives take very different paths after they consummate their friendship. She becomes a celebrity chef engaged to a dead-eyed property developer; hes a home town schlub still living with his dad. Screwball antics ensue as their paths cross again. So far, so cliche. But there are enough surprises and one hilarious cameo to prevent Always Be My Maybe feeling hopelessly formulaic.
13/25 13. To All The Boys Ive Loved Before
Netflix has become an unexpected champion of the humble romcom and To All The Boys Ive Loved Before was the movie that established its reputation in the genre. Lana Condor plays a shy high-school student who writes pretend letters to her crushes. But when the missives are stolen and made public, she feels obliged to enter a fake relationship in order to preserve her dignity. All your favourite romcom tropes are ticked off but with a knowingness that falls satisfyingly short of cynical.
14/25 12. The Fundamentals of Caring
Paul Rudd takes a break from Ant-Man to play the carer of teenager Trevor (Craig Roberts), who has muscular dystrophy, in The Fundamentals of Caring. A heart-warming road movie ensues as they somehow end up crossing America in the company of flinty hitchhiker Dot (Selena Gomez). Rudds likability is dialled all the way up in a feel-good weepie sure to shred the heartstrings
15/25 11. Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle
King of motion capture Andy Serkis ropes in some famous pals Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett. Benedict Cumberbatch etc for a fang-baring tilt at Rudyard Kipling. Shunted back because of Disneys own live action Jungle Book remake, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle is far grittier a childrens movie with enough tooth and claw not to feel like a fairytale.
16/25 10. Dolemite Is My Name
Eddie Murphy puts in one of his best performances in years in Dolemite Is My Name, a biopic about Blaxploitation comedian Rudy Ray Moore, whose potty-mouthed albums and movies in the mid Seventies were credited with helping invent hip hop. Moores Dolemite character was based on old black homeless man he encountered in San Fransisco and caused both a sensation and a scandal at the time. Murphy brings this complex figure to life with an alternately hilarious and affecting turn.
17/25 9. Annihilation
Lovecraftian weirdness by the bucketful from director Alex Garland. Natalie Portman heads a team of researchers venturing into a quarantined swampland where the laws of nature have been rebuilt from the cellular level up. Annihilation is mind-bending body horror, with echoes of Kubricks 2001: A Space Odyssey.
18/25 8. Beasts of No Nation
Cary Joji Fukunaga will shortly make his Bond debut with No Time To Die. But he was better known for directing original season of True Detective when his adaptation of Uzodinma Iwealas Ghanian civil war novel Beasts of No Nation was acquired by Netflix. Its a nightmarish tale of child soldiers dehumanised by conflict, with Idris Elba chilling as the adult commander of the boy combatants.
19/25 7. Apostle
Netflix has been churning out serviceable horror movies for several years now. Apostle, a Wicker Man updating by Raid director Gareth Evans, features the standard feral yokels, to which he brings his own innovation via oceans of gore. Dan Stevens is a naive outsider who, in 1905, travels to a remote Welsh island hoping to locate his vanished sister. He discovers a cult headed by Michael Sheens crazed preacherman, a whole lot of trouble and something terrible hiding in the dark.
20/25 6. Okja
With Bong Joon-hos Parasite winning the Palme d’Or, what better moment to revisit his brilliantly weird and charming morality fable from 2017. Co-written with John Ronson, Okja is a by turns heart-warming and chilling story of a young girl (Ahn Seo-hyun) and her friendship with the titular bio-engineered super-pig. It sounds, and frequently is, bonkers but Joon-ho plays with our heartstrings as if manipulating a Stradivarius, while Cate Blanchett is outstanding as an evil tech messiah masquerading as an environmentalist.
21/25 5. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, and Emma Thompson head the cast in Noah Baumbachs comedy drama The Meyerowitz Stories about worldly Manhattanites struggling with their lives of sophisticated privilege. Baumbach is on solid ground marshalling the inter-familial tension. But he also reminds us why hes a master at locating universal truths within the self-involved lives of neurotic Americans.
22/25 4. Mudbound
Mudbound is an unflinching survey of race and politics in the Southern United States immediately before and after the Second World War. Carey Mulligan and Mary J Blige head the cast, while Dee Rees guides the story with tremendous tautness. Mudbound was expected to receive a clean sweep of Oscar nominations in 2017. In the end it received just four, in relatively minor categories. The first rumblings of Hollywoods hostility towards streaming and its impact on cinema?
23/25 3. The Other Side of the Wind
For a reminder how unhinged film-making became in the Seventies, buckle up and lose yourself in this posthumous restoration of never-completed Orson Welles movie, The Other Side of the Wind. What would have been Welless swansong is a maniacal, meta meditation on art and fame, with John Huston playing a buccaneering director in essence, a heightened composite of himself and Welles. There are also parts for Peter Bogdanovich and Dennis Hopper. Welless editor, Bob Murawski, together with Bogdanovich and Welless daughter Beatrice, assembled the cut from 100 hours of footage. It only occasionally makes sense but, as an experience, it’s unforgettable.
24/25 2. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
When Netflix asked the Coen brothers to make a binge-friendly TV series, Hollywoods quirkiest siblings obviously went their own way. This anthology movie, titled The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, features six stories set amid the Coens deeply quirky and revisionist take on the Old West. The spirit of their classic O Brother, Where Art Thou? is tapped enthusiastically, with Liam Neeson, Zoe Kazan, Tim Blake Nelson, James Franco and Tom Waits heading the starry cast.
25/25 1. Roma
The privileged Mexico City childhood of director Alfonso Cuarón inspired his affecting, quasi-autobiographical treatise on class, privilege and love. Yalitza Aparicio is the semi-invisible maid to a wealthy family, her life a story of small moments unfolding against the backdrop of political upheaval. Netflix was denied its Best Picture Oscar for Roma, but Cuarón was an uncontroversial pick for Best Director at the 2018 awards.
1/25 25. I Am Mother
Rickety-looking science fiction thriller I Am Mother delivers where it counts with a twisting, turning plot and several genuine surprises. In the far future, a maternal robot (voiced by Rose Byrne) raises a young woman (Clara Rugaard) as her daughter. But when an outsider (Hilary Swank) makes her way to their bunker their perfect life is shattered forever.
2/25 24. Private Life
In Private Life, a bohemian middle-aged couple struggle to have a child. Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti are hilarious and poignant. And the pathos is piled on as twenty-something college drop-out Sadie (Kayli Carter) parachutes into their life. High-jinks follow, though director Tamara Jenkins ensures the existential sadness that has become part of the protagonists daily life never quite fades.
3/25 23. High Flying Bird
Steven Soderbergh has become something of a Netflix regular, with his Meryl Streep-starring The Laundromat recently premiering on the service. His earlier movie High Flying Bird is about a basketball agent (André Holland) in a game of skulduggery between players (mostly black and uneducated) and team owners (white and wealthy). Its a great sports film and also a commentary on the racial and social schisms that divide America.
4/25 22. I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore
A quirky though ultimately quite dark indie movie about two misfits, Ruth (Melanie Lynskey) and Tony (Elijah Wood), on the trail off a burglar who made off with a silver spoon belonging to Ruths grandmother. Whimsical on the surface, I Dont Feel at Home in this World Anymore is in fact a meditation on what happens when youve had enough of lifes fundamental unfairness and lash out.
5/25 21. Triple Frontier
Team-up heist movie Triple Frontier stars Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnum and Pedro Pascal as old marine corps buddies headed to South America for one final pay-day. Its hugely flawed but Affleck is convincing as a guy losing his way amidst divorce and middle age. And JC Chandor (Collateral) directs the action scenes with pizzaz. It comes close to being a great action flick for grown-ups before ultimately fizzling out.
6/25 20. A Futile and Stupid Gesture
Straight-to-video production values dont do it any favours, but A Futile and Stupid Gesture a biopic about the founder of American satirical magazine National Lampoon, Douglas Kenney (Will Forte) has its heart in the right place. Its a by turns poignant and hilarious accent of Fortes rise, his descent into drugs and infidelity and his strained relationship with Lampoon co-founder Henry Beard (an unrecognisable Domhnall Gleeson).
7/25 19. Velvet Buzzsaw
Critics trounced this stylised horror starring Jake Gyllenhaal are a vainglorious art critic. Certainly, as commentary on the vacuousness of the art world its a whole lot of stating the obvious. Yet enjoyed as a Argento-esque OTT romp, Velvet Buzzsaw is a delight, as director Dan Gilroy subjects his victims to a series of ever more absurdist and grisly ends.
8/25 18. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
El Camino would be higher on the list were it not for the fact it really isnt a film. Best thought of as a two-hour Breaking Bad episode, it takes up the story of Jesse Pinkman after hes fled the dying Walter White and driven into the blue yonder. The milieu is the familiar New Mexico underworld of Breaking Bad and its gentler prequel, Better Call Saul. BB fans will nonetheless relish a return, however brief, to the Vince Gilligan expanded universe. Plus all yes ALL your faves from the Ballad of Walter White are back for cameos.
9/25 17. Gerald’s Game
With his Doctor Sleep adaptation forthcoming, Mike Flanagan has established himself as the latter-day top dog off Stephen King retellings. He gave us a taste of what he was capable of via his gruelling adaptation of 1992 King novel Gerald’s Game, which is about a woman (Carla Gugino) who ends up bound to a bed when her husband dies during a sex game. Dont try this at a home or anyone else for that matter kids.
10/25 16. The Incredible Jessica James
Former Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams is a revelation in The Incredible Jessica James, which follows a romantically adrift young playwright who tries to come to terms with a break up by projecting blinding over-confidence. She strikes up an unlikely chemistry with Chris ODowds awkward everyman with results that achieve a rarefied mix of funny and sweet.
11/25 15. Bird Box
Sandra Bullock in a blindfold whispering to two terrified children might not sound like the stuff of blockbuster gold. Sci-fi horror Bird Box is certainly flawed. It also had the ill fortune to come out six months after the thematically adjacent A Quiet Place. Nonetheless, theres an undeniable pulpy thrill to this tale of aliens that drive you mad on sight (hence the blind-folds). Keep an eye out, too, for a fantastic cameo from Tom Hollander.
12/25 14. Always Be My Maybe
Ali Wong and Randall Park play former childhood sweethearts from San Fransisco whose lives take very different paths after they consummate their friendship. She becomes a celebrity chef engaged to a dead-eyed property developer; hes a home town schlub still living with his dad. Screwball antics ensue as their paths cross again. So far, so cliche. But there are enough surprises and one hilarious cameo to prevent Always Be My Maybe feeling hopelessly formulaic.
13/25 13. To All The Boys Ive Loved Before
Netflix has become an unexpected champion of the humble romcom and To All The Boys Ive Loved Before was the movie that established its reputation in the genre. Lana Condor plays a shy high-school student who writes pretend letters to her crushes. But when the missives are stolen and made public, she feels obliged to enter a fake relationship in order to preserve her dignity. All your favourite romcom tropes are ticked off but with a knowingness that falls satisfyingly short of cynical.
14/25 12. The Fundamentals of Caring
Paul Rudd takes a break from Ant-Man to play the carer of teenager Trevor (Craig Roberts), who has muscular dystrophy, in The Fundamentals of Caring. A heart-warming road movie ensues as they somehow end up crossing America in the company of flinty hitchhiker Dot (Selena Gomez). Rudds likability is dialled all the way up in a feel-good weepie sure to shred the heartstrings
15/25 11. Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle
King of motion capture Andy Serkis ropes in some famous pals Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett. Benedict Cumberbatch etc for a fang-baring tilt at Rudyard Kipling. Shunted back because of Disneys own live action Jungle Book remake, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle is far grittier a childrens movie with enough tooth and claw not to feel like a fairytale.
16/25 10. Dolemite Is My Name
Eddie Murphy puts in one of his best performances in years in Dolemite Is My Name, a biopic about Blaxploitation comedian Rudy Ray Moore, whose potty-mouthed albums and movies in the mid Seventies were credited with helping invent hip hop. Moores Dolemite character was based on old black homeless man he encountered in San Fransisco and caused both a sensation and a scandal at the time. Murphy brings this complex figure to life with an alternately hilarious and affecting turn.
17/25 9. Annihilation
Lovecraftian weirdness by the bucketful from director Alex Garland. Natalie Portman heads a team of researchers venturing into a quarantined swampland where the laws of nature have been rebuilt from the cellular level up. Annihilation is mind-bending body horror, with echoes of Kubricks 2001: A Space Odyssey.
18/25 8. Beasts of No Nation
Cary Joji Fukunaga will shortly make his Bond debut with No Time To Die. But he was better known for directing original season of True Detective when his adaptation of Uzodinma Iwealas Ghanian civil war novel Beasts of No Nation was acquired by Netflix. Its a nightmarish tale of child soldiers dehumanised by conflict, with Idris Elba chilling as the adult commander of the boy combatants.
19/25 7. Apostle
Netflix has been churning out serviceable horror movies for several years now. Apostle, a Wicker Man updating by Raid director Gareth Evans, features the standard feral yokels, to which he brings his own innovation via oceans of gore. Dan Stevens is a naive outsider who, in 1905, travels to a remote Welsh island hoping to locate his vanished sister. He discovers a cult headed by Michael Sheens crazed preacherman, a whole lot of trouble and something terrible hiding in the dark.
20/25 6. Okja
With Bong Joon-hos Parasite winning the Palme d’Or, what better moment to revisit his brilliantly weird and charming morality fable from 2017. Co-written with John Ronson, Okja is a by turns heart-warming and chilling story of a young girl (Ahn Seo-hyun) and her friendship with the titular bio-engineered super-pig. It sounds, and frequently is, bonkers but Joon-ho plays with our heartstrings as if manipulating a Stradivarius, while Cate Blanchett is outstanding as an evil tech messiah masquerading as an environmentalist.
21/25 5. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, and Emma Thompson head the cast in Noah Baumbachs comedy drama The Meyerowitz Stories about worldly Manhattanites struggling with their lives of sophisticated privilege. Baumbach is on solid ground marshalling the inter-familial tension. But he also reminds us why hes a master at locating universal truths within the self-involved lives of neurotic Americans.
22/25 4. Mudbound
Mudbound is an unflinching survey of race and politics in the Southern United States immediately before and after the Second World War. Carey Mulligan and Mary J Blige head the cast, while Dee Rees guides the story with tremendous tautness. Mudbound was expected to receive a clean sweep of Oscar nominations in 2017. In the end it received just four, in relatively minor categories. The first rumblings of Hollywoods hostility towards streaming and its impact on cinema?
23/25 3. The Other Side of the Wind
For a reminder how unhinged film-making became in the Seventies, buckle up and lose yourself in this posthumous restoration of never-completed Orson Welles movie, The Other Side of the Wind. What would have been Welless swansong is a maniacal, meta meditation on art and fame, with John Huston playing a buccaneering director in essence, a heightened composite of himself and Welles. There are also parts for Peter Bogdanovich and Dennis Hopper. Welless editor, Bob Murawski, together with Bogdanovich and Welless daughter Beatrice, assembled the cut from 100 hours of footage. It only occasionally makes sense but, as an experience, it’s unforgettable.
24/25 2. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
When Netflix asked the Coen brothers to make a binge-friendly TV series, Hollywoods quirkiest siblings obviously went their own way. This anthology movie, titled The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, features six stories set amid the Coens deeply quirky and revisionist take on the Old West. The spirit of their classic O Brother, Where Art Thou? is tapped enthusiastically, with Liam Neeson, Zoe Kazan, Tim Blake Nelson, James Franco and Tom Waits heading the starry cast.
25/25 1. Roma
The privileged Mexico City childhood of director Alfonso Cuarón inspired his affecting, quasi-autobiographical treatise on class, privilege and love. Yalitza Aparicio is the semi-invisible maid to a wealthy family, her life a story of small moments unfolding against the backdrop of political upheaval. Netflix was denied its Best Picture Oscar for Roma, but Cuarón was an uncontroversial pick for Best Director at the 2018 awards.
Ive become sceptical of the unwritten rule that just because a boy and girl appear in the same feature, a romance must ensue, said Miyazaki. Rather, I want to portray a slightly different relationship, one where the two mutually inspire each other to live if Im able to, then perhaps Ill be closer to portraying a true expression of love. As a parent who is frustrated by the vast majority of characters in my infant daughters picture books having masculine pronouns, even if they are frogs or cats or caterpillars, this is refreshing. 
Secondly, many of the films centre around the conflict between humans and nature, and the ensuing ecological issues. At the heart of some of the greatest Ghibli stories is the question: how can humans and the rest of life coexist? Its remarkable that Mononoke, a story about a battle between the encroaching civilisation of man and the gods of a forest, was made in 1997. It feels radical even now, perhaps because western cinema has rarely scratched the surface of the relationship between humans and the rest of the natural world. 
One of my favourite, albeit chilling, scenes in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is when we see Nausicaäs special room where she has been secretly growing beautiful, pastel-coloured plants from spores shes collected from the Sea of Decay. The world has been destroyed by an apocalyptic war, with only a toxic forest remaining. The juxtaposition feels like a warning, and a parable for our times and it was made in 1984.
Nuanced personalities not tied to romance: Princess Mononoke and the wolf goddess Moro (Studio Ghibli)
Whats more, the magic and enchantment thats the hallmark of a Ghibli film is a tonic. From the soot sprites of Spirited Away to the creaking and puffing Moving Castle with its chicken feet, the Cat Bus to the Chibi-Totoros, the mutant giant insects of Nausicaä to the ASMR-inducing clicks of the Kodamas, no one does childlike wonder like Ghibli. And God knows we could all do with a bit of fantasy right now. 
Read more
But its not just mindless fantasy. It takes us to a different planet, without forgetting the things that keep us up at night. The way the films approach pacifism, violence, love, hate, family, work, friendship, balance, ecology, sustainability, compassion feels like the perfect prescription for our insecure, late-capitalist times. There is a philosophical richness that is often lacking elsewhere, certainly in the majority of Netflixs original content, and usually in animation. With the detailed sound design and Joe Hisaishis lush, orchestral scores, not to mention the colours, the artwork and the bizarre characters, some of these are true works of genius. 
I would like to make a film to tell children, its good to be alive, Miyazaki has said. Even though there is pain and plenty of melancholy in the Ghibli world, the films are always life-affirming. Ill be showing my three-year-old daughter Ponyo and My Neighbour Totoro as soon as I think shes ready. She, and other children of all ages, have so much pleasure and delight ahead of them. As we adults do too, of course.