"Whisper of the Heart" is the first Studio Ghibli theatrical feature film to be directed by someone other than Takahata Isao or Miyazaki Hayao. Director Kondo Yoshifumi was an experienced Ghibli hand, however, having worked with the studio from its earliest days. Kondo was responsible for the visual design of Grave of the Fireflies, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Only Yesterday (which will screen at the Pickford in June). Tragically, Kondo died a few years after Whisper of the Heart was released, meaning that this is his only outing as director.
Scripted by Miyazaki Hayao, "Whisper of the Heart" is like many Miyazaki films in that the protagonist is an adolescent girl who is navigating a moment of change. Unlike Miyazaki’s work however, there is almost no element of fantasy, except for some sequences which are motivated as visualizations of the story that the main character is writing. In this respect, Kondo’s film is closer to Takahata’s work in its ability to evoke the texture of daily life in Japan.
Co-sponsored by Western Libraries and the Pickford Film Center, the Masters of Japanese Cinema is one of the Pickford's longest running and most loved series, featuring some of the best films in World Cinema with movies that span both decades and genres. Each film in the series begins with an introduction from select speakers including local professors, artists, and educators. "Whisper of the Heart" will be introduced by Dawn Dietrich, a professor of English at Western Washington University. Dietrich teaches classes about anime, among many other topics. Dietrich is also the director of Western Reads and a Pickford Film Center board member.
To learn more about upcoming films featured in this series, click on this link. For more information about the Masters of Japanese Cinema Series, contact Jeff.Purdue@wwu.edu.