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Hayao Miyazaki
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Hayao Miyazaki Profile

* Important Note: Each Thursday night TCM will show the English-language version of each film first followed later in the evening by the Japanese-language version (with English subtitles) of each film.

Known as the "Japanese Walt Disney," Hayao Miyazaki is one of his country's outstanding directors of animation. His internationally admired animated adventures include the epic Princess Mononoke (1997), a tale of a mythic battle between humans and forest animal gods that at one time was the highest-grossing film in Japan's history. It was later surpassed by an even bigger boxoffice hit, Miyazaki's Spirited Away (2001), in which a young girl stumbles into a mysterious spirit world.

In the month of Miyazaki's 65th birthday, we proudly present the TCM premieres of many of his works, including both English-dubbed versions and Japanese originals with English subtitles. Along with the exquisite artwork, his films are celebrated for their captivating characters, involving stories and ecological and humane concerns.

Born in Tokyo, Miyazaki began as an animator in 1963 and worked on many early classics of Japanese animation. After extensive experience in television, he began directing features in 1979 and scored a particular success with Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984), the tale of a peace-seeking warrior princess that was based on a comic he had created two years earlier.

Miyazaki's films often have a fairy-tale spirit, with winsome young protagonists and magical settings. In Castle in the Sky (1986), a boy and girl travel to a floating castle. My Neighbor Totoro (1988) concerns two girls who find magical creatures in a mystical forest. Porco Rosso (1992) tells of a World War I flying ace who happens to be a pig. And Whisper of the Heart (1995), written by Miyazaki and directed by his protege Yoshifumi Kondo, is a simple tale of a bookish girl who falls in love.

In addition to writing, producing and directing many of his own films, Miyazaki has produced a number of movies made by other animators including his longtime collaborator Isao Takahata, for whom he served as executive producer on Only Yesterday (1991) and Pom Poko (1994).

by Roger Fristoe

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