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Castles in the Sky: Masterful Anime from Studio Ghibli

Sunday, August 11, 2013
4:30 p.m. Whisper of the Heart
Yoshifumi Kondo (Japan, 1995)

Recommended for ages 10 and up

(Mimi wo Sumaseba). "I felt as if I'd found a treasure in a cave. And then, with one thoughtless word, I felt like I had been buried alive." So says Shizuku, the heroine of Whisper of the Heart. Living in a cramped apartment block of a Tokyo suburb, Shizuku is a bookish ninth-grader up against the prospect of a spirit-crushing educational track leading someday to a "career." A sentimental John Denver tune is in the air, but she writes her own rueful lyrics to the melody. Yet in this stressed-concrete hometown of which she sings, there are secret doors that lead to another future. Like an heirloom violin, Whisper of the Heart sings from fragile verities; full of the promise of youth, the film is a bittersweet memorial for a director who did not live to succeed his mentors at Ghibli.

—Carl Horn

• Written by Hayao Miyazaki, based on the manga by Aoi Hiragi. Voices by Yuoko Honna, Kazuo Takahashi, Takashi Tachibana, Issei Takahashi. (111 mins, In Japanese with English subtitles, Color, 35mm)