Only Yesterday | Chicago Reader

Only Yesterday

118 minutes

The Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli is known in the U.S. for the technically and narratively imaginative features of cofounder Hayao Miyazaki (most recently, The Secret World of Arriety). But the genre breakthroughs of the studio's other founder, Isao Takahata, are equally daring. In this 1991 film a Tokyo woman visits relatives in the countryside to assist them in harvesting safflower for dye; throughout her trip she reflects on her preadolescence (presented in flashbacks) while trying to resolve what kind of adult she'd like to be. Half coming-of-age story, half adult drama, the film demonstrates Takahata's belief that animation need not be limited to children's fantasy.

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