Hayao Miyazaki already working on new film after The Boy And The Heron, Latest Movies News - The New Paper

Hayao Miyazaki already working on new film after The Boy And The Heron

Legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki has once again backed out of plans to retire and returned with a new film, The Boy And The Heron.

The semi-autobiographical drama, which opens in Singapore cinemas on Nov 30 follows a boy, Mahito (Soma Santoki), who stumbles on an abandoned tower and enters a fantastical world with a talking heron.

Earlier in 2023, the lyrical tale about life, loss and friendship was screened for the first time outside Japan at the Toronto International Film Festival in Canada.

The renowned 82-year-old writer-director did not attend the event, but representing the film in his stead was Mr Junichi Nishioka, vice-president of Studio Ghibli.

This is the same Japanese animation studio that produced Miyazaki’s 2001 fantasy Spirited Away, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature and is widely considered one of the greatest animated films of all time.

Mr Nishioka says that contrary to reports that The Boy And The Heron will be Miyazaki’s last, the renowned animator is not calling it quits just yet.

Miyazaki has backtracked on multiple retirement announcements over the years, including after Spirited Away and the fantasy epic Princess Mononoke (1997), both huge commercial hits in Japan, and his last movie before this one, the historical drama The Wind Rises (2013).

The Boy And The Heron was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in Canada. PHOTO: GHIBLIUSA/FACEBOOK

Speaking through an interpreter on the red carpet in Toronto, Mr Nishioka says: “Other people say that this might be Miyazaki’s last film, but he doesn’t feel that way at all. He is working on ideas for a new film. He comes into his office every day and does that.

“So, this time, he’s not going to announce his retirement at all. He’s continuing working just as he has always done.”

Why, then, does Miyazaki keep threatening to quit only to later back out?

Mr Nishioka believes the creator “often announces his retirement after making a film because he’s put all his energy into it and thinks he can’t make any more”.

“But this time, he’s not saying so.”

The studio executive also observes that animation is held in much higher esteem in cinema today, perhaps because of the artistry of creators such as Miyazaki.

“The time has now come when the distinction between live-action and animated films is disappearing.”

Esteemed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro agrees that animation is no longer considered the poor cousin of live action. “Animation is film, and tonight’s film goes beyond that: Animation is art,” says the 59-year-old Mexican who declares Miyazaki to be “the greatest director of animation ever”.

Miyazaki’s works are not easy films, notes del Toro. “But these are films that portray him so intimately, you feel you’re having a conversation with him."

Comparing Miyazaki’s contribution to cinema with the impact 18th-century Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had on classical music, del Toro says: “Miyazaki is a master of that stature.

“He has changed the medium, revolutionised it and proved over and over again that it is a tremendous work of art.”