‘Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki’ Review: Retired, Restless Animation Giant

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The animator Hayao Miyazaki in “Never-Ending Man.” Credit Gkids

Reprinted from The New York Times by Glenn Kenny on December 13, 2018.

The Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, whose animated classics include My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away, is an artist sufficiently painstaking as to be called tortured. As such, he has announced his retirement more than once over the course of his four-decade career. But after he finished the 2013 feature The Wind Rises, Miyazaki, now 77, seemed intent on putting a stop to his work. In 2014 he shut down his offices at Studio Ghibli, the animated film company he co-founded in 1985.

After a prologue laying all this out, Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki, a documentary directed by Kaku Arakawa made in 2016 and having its New York theatrical premiere this week, finds the maestro in a sparsely-furnished house referred to as his “atelier,” brewing coffee, brooding and sketching.

He still has the creative urge. But he worries that C.G.I. is making his own brand of hand-drawn animation obsolete. He bristles at the labor hand-drawn animation requires and ponders a compromise. Archival footage of the making of his feature films shows how demanding he was on his staff. As he gathers young talent to experiment with computer animation for a short film, we see an artistic genius who’s also a less than efficient, let alone intuitive, manager. …

NY Times 12/13

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About Jeffrey Burman 5303 Articles
Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.

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