Inventive interpretation of an ancient tale in Japanese film

The Tale Of The Princess Kagaya SUS-160404-121647001
The Tale Of The Princess Kagaya SUS-160404-121647001

For understandable reasons many regard animated films as being mostly for children.

However, strong evidence for their appeal to adults is to be found in The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya, which Eastbourne Film Society presents in its Spring Mini-Season next Wednesday, April 13, at the Curzon. As usual seats are available for the public.

This highly acclaimed film directed by Takahato Isao comes from Japan’s famed Studio Ghibli which also produced such modern classics as Spirited Away. In the case of The Tale of the Princess Kaguya the source material is a Japanese folktale and the delicacy of the watercolour drawing is such that the film will fascinate all with an interest in Japanese culture and its roots. But, rather unexpectedly, there is another level of interest as well.

The girl who becomes the Princess Kaguya is a mysterious foundling brought up by a bamboo cutter and his wife but then brought into the life of the court. As such it might sound like a Japanese variant on the story of Cinderella, but in this case the tale’s heroine is an independent spirit who rebels against conforming. Consequently, this ancient tale becomes one resonant for those in today’s audiences concerned with women’s continuing fight for independence. That adds to the film’s interest, but it is as a beautiful and magical work set in a world all its own that The Tale of the Princess Kaguya casts its unique spell.