The next Masters of Asian Cinema film is Takahata Isao’s 1994 animated feature, Pom Poko. It will screen on Tuesday, June 6 at 6:30pm at Pickford Film Center, 1318 Bay Street in downtown Bellingham.
Pom Poko is directed by one of the two founders of Studio Ghibli, Takahata Isao, who also directed Only Yesterday, Grave of the Fireflies, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya, among other films.
Pom Poko concerns a group of creatures known as tanuki, often translated as “raccoon dogs.” These are animals native to Japan who have appeared in folklore and children’s songs for hundreds of years, in which they are reputed to have shape-shifting powers similar to fox spirits.
In this film, a group of tanuki near Tokyo decide to combat the encroaching suburbanization of their habitat in some very direct and fanciful ways.
“Pom Poko combines the environmental theme with an extension of the folklore so that the tanuki use the full extent of their mythological powers, and then some, to fight off development,” explained series curator and librarian at Western Washington University, Jeff Purdue. “It’s a funny and bittersweet film.”
Co-sponsored by Western Libraries and the Pickford Film Center, the Masters of Asian Cinema series continues the rich tradition that began with the Masters of Japanese Cinema series, one of the Pickford's longest running and most popular series. Each film in the Masters of Asian Cinema series begins with an introduction from select speakers including local professors, artists, and educators. WWU Professor in the Department of English, Dawn Dietrich, will introduce this film.
Pom Poko marks the last film in this year’s Masters of Asian Cinema series, which will return in the fall of 2017. To learn more about upcoming films featured in this series, contact Jeff.Purdue@wwu.edu.