On July 14, Hayao Miyazaki’s final film, The Boy and the Heron (or, as it’s called in Japan, How Do You Live?), was released to Japanese cinemas with no marketing for it whatsoever, aside from this poster:
With its upcoming North American premiere at the 48th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) as its Opening Night Gala Presentation, and also the fact that, well, one can’t get away with not marketing a film on this side of the globe, it was inevitable that Studio Ghibli’s international audience would be receiving a tease or two to hold them over. But even still, that didn’t stop North American distributor GKIDS from releasing a mysterious “introduction” five days ago:
The teaser trailer for The Boy and the Heron was released this morning with so much to take in. Opening with a scene reminiscent of the late Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies, we follow afterwards with very quick looks of a variety of moments. Standouts include:
- Meeting the young male protagonist, Mahito, and what he’s up against (a noticeable differentiation from a director who’s known for centering his films on girls and women)
- A heron (as the title suggests)
- A mysterious tunnel with the phrase “Fecemi la divina potestate” (Latin for “I was made by divine power”) engraved above its entrance
- Cute, floating white creatures of sorts with little limbs
- Talking fish
- A person made of liquid
- A person made of fire
With magic, nature, flight, and an exploration of youth hinted at, it has all the workings of what one would normally expect from a Miyazaki film. The animation looks top notch; perhaps even more so than his previous films (and that’s saying something). The film is about Mahito who, under the guidance of a talking heron, enters a magical world through an abandoned building in his new town, but as these glimpses show, the brief synopsis barely scratches the surface of what’s to come.
The Boy and the Heron will be showing tomorrow at TIFF and in theaters December 8.
This article was written during the WGA and SAG/AFTRA strike. To support the strike, please donate to the Entertainment Community Fund.