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Whisper of the Heart

(Mimi wo sumaseba) 耳をすませば
Japan 1995. Director: Yoshifumi Kondô
Voices: Youko Honna, Kazuo Takahashi, Maiko Kayama, Yorie Yamashita, Takashi Tachibana

A visually-stunning wonder about the awakening of creative talent, Whisper of the Heart, written by Hayao Miyazaki, was the sole feature directed by Miyazaki’s protégé Yoshifumi Kondô before his sudden death at age of 47; it was also the first Studio Ghibli feature directed by someone other than Miyazaki or Isao Takahata. Aspiring writer Shizuku is spending her last summer vacation before high school reading as many books as she can and translating foreign music into Japanese. Perusing the eclectic choices she has checked out from the library, her curiosity is piqued when she notices that the name Seiji appears before hers on the checkout card of each book. Through a series of unlikely and magical incidents, she comes to meet and establish a connection with Seiji, a boy who dreams of becoming a famous violin maker in Italy. As their life goals pull them in different directions, Shizuku and Seiji are determined to remain true to their feelings for one another. A favourite of Terry Gilliam, Whisper of the Heart remains a classic of Japanese animation. The Baron, the film’s dapper, magical feline, appears again in The Cat Returns (also screening in this series), a spin-off. Colour, 35mm, in Japanese with English subtitles. 111 mins.