“I was born to truly live! Just like the birds and beasts” – Kaguya

The Tale of Princess Kaguya (released 2013) is a Japanese animated fantasy film produced by Studio Ghibli. Directed by Isao Takahata, the film’s storyline is based upon the folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. It tells the story of an elderly bamboo cutter who discovers a young, tiny girl in a bamboo shoot and, along with his wife, decides to adopt the child as his own. As time progresses, the girl begins to grow to a ‘normal size’ for a child her age until eventually, she has to leave behind her home village when her parents decide they want her to pursue a life among the nobles

  1. The animation is quite different to what you might be used to, but it’s stunning. It’s charcoal lines and watercolour that you’ll fall in love with thanks to the remarkable talent of Osamu Tanabe and Kazuo Oga


  2. The score of this film (composed by Joe Hisaishi) allows for scenes to flow nicely and evoke further emotion from the audience where required as the story unfolds


  3. This film holds the message that possessions do not equate with happiness. Like many other Studio Ghibli movies, The Tale of Princess Kaguya depicts an appreciation for the environment. Kaguya is enchanted with nature and longs for the more simple pleasures of the world that she had found in her home village – the place she fell in love with


  4. It’s a bittersweet coming of age story. While Kaguya’s mother just wants her daughter to live a comfortable life, Kaguya’s father plans for ‘greater’ things. He believes that the Heavens want Kaguya to become a princess after the bamboo shoot she appeared in began to produce fine clothes and gold. Although Kaguya’s father wants her to be happy, he assumes he knows the best way to do this rather than asking his daughter about what she wants


  5. The film also explores the idea of the burdens that are placed upon children. Kaguya resents the duties she has been tasked with and longs to return to nature instead



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