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Hayao Miyazaki: Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Exhibition Catalog (review)

Written by Jessica Niebel
Foreword by Toshio Suzuki
Text by Pete Docter, Daniel Kothenschulte
Published by DelMonico Books

 

When I was asked to review the catalogue for the new Academy of Motion Pictures Museum’s first exhibit featuring master filmmaker Hayao Myazaki’s extraordinary breadth of work, I jumped at the chance.

As an avid fan of Studio Ghibli and master Miyazaki, I was saddened that due to the times we are in and given the fact that I am super immunocompromised from my recent kidney transplant, I would never get to view in person this exhibit.

This was a chance to at least see and read about his life and work as well as his process of how his films are created. I was not disappointed in the least with what I was presented with, from beginning to finish.

Immediately, I am greeted by plates of beautiful watercolors from the films Spirited Away and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind painted by Miazaki himself. Already off to a brilliant start.

What followed was a foreword from the Academy’s director, Bill Kramer and then an introduction from Studio Ghibli’s co-founder, Toshio Suzuki. I began my journey into the incredible world of Miyazaki and the wonder of his creations.

Jessica Niebel, Peter Docter, and Daniel Kothenschulte, the three co-writers of this book took turns in giving the reader a very colorful and in depth history of the early days of anime and animation that Miazaki was a part of and influenced by, the early career of Hayao Miyazaki working in the studio system and then how he created Studio Ghibli, his philosophies that shaped his thinking and processes of creating his films, and the impact his films have had on the world.

Throughout the book, interspersed amongst the words are some of the most beautiful reproductions of concept sketches, imageboards, storyboards, watercolor background plates, finished productions animation cels, and photographs of the creators themselves at work. I spent so much time while reading this just staring at the pictures and artwork. I lovingly poured over the details of all the art. I could sartre at the background plates alone for hours and hours.

This is truly an exceptional collection. I can only imagine how stunning the actual exhibit is. This catalog is wonderfully comprehensive and a wonderful read. It kept me interested the whole time I read it. Both the words as well as the images included in the catalog is worth the price of the book. I know, because I immediately pre-ordered it as soon as I finished reading it. I own dozens of books on Miyazaki’s films. I have watched the two documentaries on his life and his work. This will be such a stellar addition to my library. I am excited.

If you are able to, I implore you to go and see this exhibit if you happen to be in LA. If you are like me and can’t get there, then this catalogue is a comprehensive, tremendously rich volume that captures not only the lush and vivid world of Miayzaki’s films in pictures, but it also will transport you through the writing into the mind of the creative process of Miyazaki, his studio producers, and creatives involved in the creation of the ouvere of Studio Ghibli.

For more details, or to order the catalog, visit AcademyMuseumStore.org

 

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