Masterpieces from Studio Ghibli Film Festival

The Boy and the Heron

Tickets are available online and at the admission desk.
Full Festival Pass

Welcome to the Modern’s film festival, Masterpieces from Studio Ghibli. This year we are excited to feature an all-Ghibli festival showcasing five films from the animation masters who founded the studio—Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata—along with two versions of the live-action staging of Spirited Away in Tokyo. A highlight of our program is The Boy and the Heron, this year’s winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

All film screenings will be held in the Modern's auditorium. Tickets are $10; $8 for Friend-level Modern members; $7 for Associate-level Modern members and above. Cinephiles who plan to enjoy the weekend’s entire selection of films will receive a discount for pre-purchasing all of their tickets at once. The Modern Shop will be featuring many items from beloved Studio Ghibli productions during the Festival.
 

All films in the Masterpieces from Studio Ghibli Film Festival will be introduced by Dr. Marc Hairston, a research scientist at the University of Texas at Dallas. A professional space physicist, part-time anime scholar, and Fort Worth native, Hairston has hosted annual Japanese animation festivals at the Modern since 2012. He is one of the founding editors of Mechademia, the first academic journal focused on anime and manga studies and has written numerous scholarly articles about anime. With Dr. Pamela Gossin, also at UT Dallas, he has co-authored two books about anime and manga aimed at high-school-age readers, Cultural Guide to Anime and Manga (2023) and Exploring Anime and Manga (World of Art) (2024). 

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Castle in the Sky
August 9, 4 pm 

Castle in the Sky (1986) was the first official Studio Ghibli film; Miyazaki and Takahata created the studio based on their success with the film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984). Perfect for the whole family, Castle is the ultimate boy’s adventure film. Pazu is an orphan boy who rescues Sheeta, an orphaned princess, from evil government agents. The two team up with a gang of air pirates and race against the agents to discover the true secrets of Laputa, a mysterious floating castle in the sky. Starring the voice talents of James Van Der Beek (Pazu), Anna Paquin (Sheeta), Mark Hamill (Muska), Cloris Leachman (Mama Dola), and Mandy Patinkin (Louie).
Watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lMRfLJGXSM
125 minutes; PG


The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
August 9, 7 pm

The most purely Japanese of all the Ghibli films, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013) is the final film made by Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata before his death in 2018. Based on The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, a thousand-year-old Japanese folktale, it follows the story of the princess of the Moon who comes to Earth, where she is discovered and reared by a poor bamboo cutter. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, she is wooed by five suitors and even the Japanese Emperor himself, but she rejects them all to return to the Moon. Takahata presents the story in a magically beautiful and fluid style of animation that makes the story appear as if it is a moving traditional Japanese ink (sumi-e) or watercolor painting. Starring the voice talents of Chloë Grace Moretz (Kaguya), James Caan (the Bamboo Cutter), Mary Steenburgen (the Bamboo Cutter’s Wife), and Lucy Liu (Lady Sagami).
Watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZK2y9NAaNo
137 minutes; PG

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My Neighbor Totoro
August 10, 11 am 

My Neighbor Totoro (1988) was the second official Studio Ghibli film and is easily the most beloved of all of Miyazaki’s works. A quiet film set in the early 1950s, it depicts a Japanese family that moves to the countryside so the mother can recover from tuberculosis in a sanitorium. In their new country home, the two young girls discover a trio of magical tree spirits called Totoros, who take them on small adventures. In the process, the girls are exposed to the wonders of the natural world, even as the potential loss of their mother hovers in the background. The late film critic Roger Ebert called Totoro “one of the five greatest family films ever made.” Starring the voice talents of Dakota Fanning (Satsuki), Elle Fanning (Mei), Tim Daly (the father), and Lea Salonga (the mother).
Watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaLISMAGdOE
86 minutes; G


Spirited Away Live on Stage with Mone Kamishiraishi
August 10, 1 pm

In 2002 the film Spirited Away introduced Miyazaki’s imaginative worlds to English-speaking audiences when it won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film. Twenty years later, Tony Award-winning director John Caird (Les Misérables) created a live-action adaptation of Spirited Away for the Tokyo stage. Combining human actors with fantastic staging and amazing puppetry, Caird created a dazzling spectacle that rivals its animated origins. The huge production required two separate casts to alternate the performances; the Modern is proud to present both versions of Spirited Away Live on Stage (2022).

The August 10 show presents the version featuring Mone Kamishirashi as Chihiro. She is best known in the US for her vocal performance as Mitsuka in the anime hit Your Name (2016). Japanese audiences also know her for her performance as Kanade in the three live-action Chihayafuru films (2016–18), based on the manga and anime series of the same name.
Watch the trailer for both versions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ED5Y8mz8P8g
Watch this scene of Mone Kamishirashi as Chihiro and Hiroki Miura as Haku: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCNLHX6MNys
170 minutes; PG; Japanese with English subtitles

The Boy and the Heron
August 10, 4:30 pm 
The Boy and the Heron (2023) won both the Japan Academy Prize and the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film this past spring; Miyazaki has suggested this will be his final film. Drawing from his own childhood experiences and echoing many of the themes of his earlier films, The Boy and the Heron stands as a beautiful summation of Miyazaki’s artistic vision. After a young boy named Mahito loses his mother in a bombing raid in Tokyo during World War II, his father, Shoichi, moves him to the country home of his late mother; then, he marries her younger sister, Natsuko. Still grieving for his mother and unwilling to accept his new stepmother/aunt, Mahito is approached by a magical heron who tells him that his mother is still alive and waiting for him in a mysterious tower built by his late granduncle. Venturing into the tower with the heron as his guide, Mahito enters a fantastic dream world where he makes a spiritual journey to overcome his grief and answer the question, “how do you live?” Starring the voice talents of Luca Padovan (Mahito), Christian Bale (Shoichi), Robert Pattinson (the Heron), Dave Bautista (the Parakeet King), Mark Hamill (Granduncle), Willem Dafoe (the Pelican), and Gemma Chan (Natsuko).
Watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5khm-VjEu4
124 minutes; PG-13

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Kiki's Delivery Service
August 11, 12:30 pm 

The third official Studio Ghibli film, Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989), is the most heartwarming of all the Ghibli films. Based on a Japanese children’s book by Eiko Kadono, the film tells the story of Kiki, a 13-year-old who must spend a year living on her own in order to become a full-fledged witch. Along with her wise-cracking cat, Jiji, Kiki sets up a “witch’s delivery service” in her new hometown, where she begins to build a new circle of friends and family. Starring the voice talents of Kirsten Dunst (Kiki), Phil Hartman (Jiji), Janeane Garofalo (Ursula), Matthew Lawrence (Tombo), and Debbie Reynolds (Madame).
Watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6-fT0hjTvc
103 minutes; G
 

Spirited Away Live on Stage with Kanna Hashimoto
August 11, 3 pm

In 2002 the film Spirited Away introduced Miyazaki’s imaginative worlds to English-speaking audiences when it won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film. Twenty years later, Tony Award-winning director John Caird (Les Misérables) created a live-action adaptation of Spirited Away for the Tokyo stage. Combining human actors with fantastic staging and amazing puppetry, Caird created a dazzling spectacle that rivals its animated origins. The huge production required two separate casts to alternate the performances; the Modern is proud to present both versions of Spirited Away Live on Stage (2022).

The August 11 show presents the version featuring Kanna Hashimoto as Chihiro. Prior to this role, Hashimoto had already performed in four live-action Japanese films based on anime and manga series: as Ritsu in Assassination Classroom (2015) and Assassination Classroom: Graduation (2016), and then as Kaguya in Kaguya-sama: Love is War (2019) and Kaguya-sama: Love is War – Final (2021).
Watch the trailer for both versions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ED5Y8mz8P8g
Watch a scene featuring Kanna Hashimoto as Chihiro, Miyu Sakihi as Lin, and Mari Natsuki as Yubaba as they deal with the stink-spirit in the bathhouse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUYD24MrRMs
170 minutes; PG; Japanese with English subtitles