The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)

The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)

An exquisite historical fantasy turned coming-of-age film about a magical moon princess found in a bamboo stalk

The Very Best

9.3

Movie

Japan
Japanese
Animation, Drama, Fantasy
2013
ISAO TAKAHATA
Aki Asakura, Atsuko Takahata, Hikaru Ijūin
137 min

What it's about

Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthrals all who encounter her. But, ultimately, she must confront her fate.

The take

Based on a classic Japanese folktale, Isao Takahata’s last film will break your heart. This adaptation, of course, follows Princess Kaguya from her being discovered in a glowing bamboo stalk to her departure to the moon. However, while faithful to the original tale, Takahata’s direction turns this historical fantasy into a heart-wrenching coming-of-age film as ethereal as the titular character. The film doesn’t focus on the crazy pursuit of her suitors; instead, we’re drawn to the simple experiences Kaguya herself is drawn to and wants more of, as she tries to balance her life with the societal expectations places on women. All of which is rendered through the film's lush watercolored scenes of the blowing wind or the opening of plum blossoms.

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