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Jump onto a Catbus and head to The Frida Cinema this April for STUDIO GHIBLI AT THE FRIDA! This comprehensive catalog of films from beloved Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli will present twenty-one classic animated films. From epic adventures with politically-charged themes to gentle stories that evoke the carefree bliss of childhood, there’s so much to take in from Studio Ghibli’s prolific and celebrated output. Anime auteur Hayao Miyazaki’s films are of course present, but films by Isao Takahata, Goro Miyazaki, and Hiromasa Yonebayashi will also be highlighted over the course of the month.
We thank GKIDS for their partnership and support in sharing these wonderful films to our community of film lovers!
Spirited Away – Apr 1 – 4
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki | 2001
A young girl, Chihiro, and her parents come across an a strange, abandoned area. They explore the area but discover the location is enchanted and soon become trapped in a strange new world of spirits. When her parents undergo a mysterious transformation, Chihiro must call upon the courage she never knew she had to free her family and escape from the spirit-haunted world.
Whisper of the Heart – Apr 1 – 3
Directed by Yoshifumi Condo | 1995
A chance encounter with a mysterious cat sends Shizuku, a quiet schoolgirl, on a quest for her true talent. Together with Seiji, a boy determined to follow his dreams, and enchanted by The Baron, a magical cat figurine who helps her listen to the whispers of her heart, Shizuku embarks on a life-changing adventure that takes her beyond the boundaries of her imagination.
Tales from Earthsea – Apr 4 & 5
Directed by Goro Miyazaki | 2006
As crops dwindle and dragons reappear, mankind stands on the verge of total chaos. Lord Archmage Sparrowhawk, a powerful wizard, and Arren, a troubled young prince, search for the force behind this mysterious imbalance that threatens to destroy the land of Earthsea, in a tale of redemption and self-discovery that will take your breath away.
Castle in the Sky – Apr 5 – 7
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki | 1986
This high-flying adventure begins when Pazu, an engineer’s apprentice, spies a young girl, Sheeta, floating down from the sky, held aloft by a glowing pendant. Both Sheeta and Pazu are searching for the legendary floating castle, Laputa, and they vow to travel there together to unravel the mystery of the luminous crystal. But their quest won’t be easy, as soon they are being pursued by greedy air pirates, the military, and secret government agents, who all seek the power Sheeta alone can control.
My Neighbors the Yamadas – Apr 6 & 7
Directed by Isao Takahata | 1999
Takashi Yamada and his wacky wife Matsuko, who has no talent for housework, navigate their way through the ups and downs of work, marriage, and family life with a sharp-tongued grandmother who lives with them, a teenage son who wishes he had cooler parents, and a pesky daughter whose loud voice is unusual for someone so small. Even the family dog has issues!
Howl’s Moving Castle – Apr 8 – 11
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki | 2004
18-year-old Sophie Hatter has settled into an unremarkable life of managing her late father’s hat shop in the magical kingdom of Ingary until late one night, when a mysterious woman comes into the shop and turns Sophie into an old woman. Sophie sets off into the countrywide on her own, determined to break this curse. She crosses paths with the Castle—the enigmatic home of the equally enigmatic wizard Howl. Posing as the newly hired cleaning lady, Sophie makes a deal with the Castle’s resident fire demon, Calcifer: if she can break the contract he has with Howl, then Calcifer will break Sophie’s curse.
From Up on Poppy Hill – Apr 8 – 10
Directed by Goro Miyazaki | 2011
Yokohama, 1963. Japan is picking itself up from the devastation of World War II and preparing to host the Olympics. Against this backdrop of hope and change, a friendship begins to blossom between high school students Umi (Sarah Bolger) and Shun (Anton Yelchin) – but a buried secret from their past emerges to cast a shadow on the future and pull them apart.
The Secret World of Arrietty – Apr 11 & 12
Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi Lynch | 2010
A boy named Sho takes a trip down memory lane to the week he spent at his great aunt’s house where his eyes were opened to a world beyond his wildest imagination. Upon his arrival, Sho catches a glimpse of Arrietty, a girl around 4 inches tall who belongs to a family of Borrowers, or tiny humans who forage borrowed items in order to survive. One night, Arrietty’s father takes her on a “borrowing” mission, where she officially makes contact with Sho, and a friendship that defies reality is forged. It isn’t long before the Borrowers need to relocate to a new home and the bonds of that newly formed friendship are tested.
Ponyo – Apr 12 – 14
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki | 2008
Raised under strict supervision by her villainous sorcerer scientist father, goldfish Brunhilde longs to be where the people are. A strictly forbidden, but blossoming love affair with a boy on the surface spurns Brunhilde to escape home and attempt transformation into a human herself. But Brunhilde’s father summons all the magic in the sea to find her and bring her back home.
Ocean Waves – Apr 13 & 14
Directed by Tomomi Mochizuki | 1993
At Kichijōji Station, Tokyo, Taku Morisaki glimpses a familiar woman on the platform opposite boarding a train. Later, her photo falls from a shelf as he exits his apartment before flying to Kōchi Prefecture. Picking it up, he looks at it briefly before leaving. As the aeroplane takes off, he narrates the events that brought her into his life…
Porco Rosso – Apr 15 – 18
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki | 1992
During World War I, freelance bounty hunter and ace fighter pilot Porco Rosso is tracked down by a jealous American pilot, who shoots his plane down while en route to Milan. After getting his plane repaired, Rosso discovers an arising fascist government that is hiring “air pirates” to hunt down those within their crosshairs. Unwilling to prevent his business from withering, Rosso takes to the sky to hunt down his competition, all while doing what he can to undo the mysterious curse that has transformed him into an anthropomorphic pig.
The Wind Rises – Apr 15 – 17
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki | 2013
Jiro has long dreamed of flying and designing planes, but due to being nearsighted from a young age he is unable to become a pilot. Instead, he joins an engineering company where he becomes one of the most revolutionary and accomplished airplane designers in the world. As he pursues his dreams however, Japan soon finds itself embroiled in World War II and — much to Jiro’s horror — the planes he designed are put to use in that bloody conflict
Only Yesterday – Apr 18 & 19
Directed by Isao Takahata | 1991
It’s 1982, and Taeko is 27 years old, unmarried, and has lived her whole life in Tokyo. She decides to visit her relatives in the countryside, and as the train travels through the night, memories flood back of her younger years: the first immature stirrings of romance, the onset of puberty, and the frustrations of math and boys. At the station she is met by young farmer Toshio, and the encounters with him begin to reconnect her to forgotten longings. In lyrical switches between the present and the past, Taeko contemplates the arc of her life, and wonders if she has been true to the dreams of her childhood self.
The Tale of Princess Kayuga – Apr 19 – 21
Directed by Isao Takahata | 2013
Princess Kaguya was once a carefree girl, known to her friends as Little Bamboo, but a life running around with the village children is not fit for someone as miraculous as her. One day, a bamboo cutter discovered a miniature girl in a glowing bamboo shoot, and he brought her home to his wife. Believing the girl to be a divine presence, they called her “Princess” and loved and raised her as their own. The family relocate to the capitol and attempt to settle into a life in high society, fit for a princess.
Earwig and the Witch – Apr 20
Directed by Goro Miyazaki | 2021
Ten years after she was abandoned at an English orphanage, young Earwig is reluctantly adopted by a strange and mysterious couple: Baba Yaga & Mandrake. After learning the two are magical witches, Earwig gleefully warms up to them, hoping to become a witch herself. Meanwhile, Earwig finds a cassette tape of an old band – also named Earwig – that might provide clues to the identity of her parents.
Kiki’s Delivery Service – Apr 22 – 25
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki | 1989
A 13-year-old trainee witch spends her year of mandatory independent life trying to navigate a new community while supporting herself by running an air courier service. Crafty, imaginative, and tenacious in her pursuit, the green young witch is joined by her talking black cat Jiji as she struggles to settle into the seaside port town of Koriko. Struggles with exhaustion and purpose mark an adolescent journey of a girl in crisis with artist’s block, striving to regain her flying powers.
Pom Poko – Apr 22 – 24
Directed by Isao Takahata | 1994
The Japanese forests are filled with groups of magical tanuki, mischievous raccoon-like animals from Japanese folklore that are capable of shape-shifting from their standard raccoon form to practically any object. The tanuki spend their days playing idly in the hillsides and squabbling over food – until the construction of a huge new Tokyo suburb clears the nearby forest and threatens their way of life. In an effort to defend their home, the tanuki learn to transform into humans and start playing tricks to make the workers think the construction site is haunted.
The Cat Returns – Apr 25 & 26
Directed by Hiroyuki Morita | 2002
Haru, a quiet suburban schoolgirl, is walking with her friend after a dreary day at school when she encounters a stray cat. To her amazement, the cat then gets up on its hind legs, brushes itself off, and thanks her very politely. As if that weren’t shocking enough, Haru finds herself pitched into a fantastical feline world called the Kingdom of Cats and must find the inner strength to make her way back home.
Grave of the Fireflies – Apr 26 – 28
Directed by Isao Takahata | 1988
As the Empire of the Sun crumbles upon itself and a rain of firebombs falls upon Japan, the final death march of a nation is echoed in millions of smaller tragedies. This is the story of Seita and his younger sister Setsuko, two children born at the wrong time, in the wrong place, and now cast adrift in a world that lacks not the care to shelter them, but simply the resources. Forced to fend for themselves in the aftermath of fires that swept entire cities from the face of the earth, their doomed struggle is both a tribute to the human spirit and the stuff of nightmares.
When Marnie Was There – Apr 27 & 28
Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi | 2014
When shy, artistic Anna moves to the seaside to live with her aunt and uncle, she stumbles upon an old mansion surrounded by marshes, and the mysterious young girl, Marnie, who lives there. The two girls instantly form a unique connection and friendship that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality. As the days go by, a nearly magnetic pull draws Anna back to the Marsh House again and again, and she begins to piece together the truth surrounding her strange new friend.
My Neighbor Totoro – Apr 29 – May 1
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki | 1988
Set in the late 50s, the film follows sisters Satsuke and Mei as they settle in at their new home. As they explore the nearby forest, they come across Totoro, a raccoon-like forest spirit who takes the girls on wondrous adventures. Although their time with Totoro serves simply as escapist fun at first, he proves to be a benevolent guardian to them when the troubles of the real world crash in on their lives.
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind – Apr 29 – May 1
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki | 1984
A thousand years after the Seven Days of Fire destroyed civilization, warring human factions survive in a world devastated by atmospheric poisons and swarming with gigantic insects. The peaceful Valley of the Wind is nestled on the edge of the Toxic Forest and led by the courageous Princess Nausicaä. Filled with love for all living things, the princess must face terrible danger as she fights to restore balance between humans and nature.