Program

Retrospective

Only Yesterday

Japan

1991

Introduction

It’s summer, 1982. Taeko is a 27-year old Office Lady who feels something is slightly lacking from her life in Tokyo. Her married sister lives in Yamagata, so Taeko takes ten days off work to stay with her new relatives. For Taeko, born and raised in Tokyo, “the country” is something she aspires to. It holds a strange fascination for her.
Suddenly she remembers something from when she was a fifth-grader, and for some reason, she can’t get it out of her head. Together with her memory, she is rocked and jolted on the night train to Yamagata.
A fifth-grader. A young girl going up a staircase. Probably during the spring, when caterpillars turn into butterflies. “Is it time for me to transform again?”, Taeko wonders.

 

© 1991 岡本螢・刀根夕子・Studio Ghibli・NH

Director

Isao Takahata

Born in 1935 in Mie Prefecture, Japan. After graduating from The University of Tokyo with a degree in French literature, he joined Toei Animation Company. He debuted as a director with the animated TV series KEN, THE WILD BOY (1963 – 1965), and directed his first animated feature film, THE LITTLE NORSE PRINCE VALIANT (1968). He left Toei in 1971 and worked at various studios and directed TV series including HEIDI A GIRL OF THE ALPS (1974), MARCO, FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES (1976), and ANNE OF GREEN GABLES (1979), and feature films such as DOWNTOWN STORY (1981) and GAUCHE THE CELLIST (1981).

Takahata co-founded Studio Ghibli in 1985 with Hayao Miyazaki, and has directed five feature films since: GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES (1988), ONLY YESTERDAY (1991), POM POKO (1994), which received the Feature Film Prize at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in 1995, MY NEIGHBORS THE YAMADAS (1999), which was chosen by The Museum of Modern Art in New York for its film collection, the first Japanese animated feature film to be so honored, and his latest film, THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA (2013), nominated for the 2014 Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature. He served as producer for Hayao Miyazaki’s films NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND (1984) and CASTLE IN THE SKY (1986), and artistic producer for Michael Dudok de Wit’s THE RED TURTLE (2016).

In 1998, Takahata received Japan’s Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon. He was awarded with the Honorific Leopard at the 2009 Locarno International Film Festival and the Special Cristal Award for lifetime achievement at the 2014 Annecy International Animated Film Festival. In April 2015, He received the “Officier” of the Order of Arts and Letters, France. He received the 2015 Winsor McCay Award of the Annie Awards. On April 5, 2018, Takahata passed away at the age of 82.