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Only Yesterday

(Omohide Poro Poro) おもひでぽろぽろ
Japan 1991. Director: Isao Takahata
Voices: Miki Imai, Toshirô Yanagiba, Youko Honna, Masako Watanabe, Masahiro Ito

RARE GHIBLI!Directed by Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata and produced by Hayao Miyazaki, Only Yesterday is one of two films in our Studio Ghibli retrospective that were never released in North America on any format (the other is The Ocean Waves). Only Yesterday is a double period piece that beautifully evokes both the 1960s and 1980s; it is also a quintessential drama of Japanese school-day nostalgia. Bored twentysomething Taeko, realizing she's at a crossroads in her life, heads for the countryside. The trip dredges up forgotten childhood memories which unfold in flashback: the first immature stirrings of romance; the onset of puberty; and the frustrations of math and boys. In lyrical switches between the present and the past, Taeko wonders if she has been true to the dreams of her childhood self. Studio Ghibli is known for its strong female heroines, from Nausicaä and Mononoke to Kiki to Ponyo — but this charming tale of self-discovery may delve deeper into the real emotional experiences of girls and women than perhaps any animated film before or since. Colour, 35mm, in Japanese with English subtitles. 118 mins.

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