Dir. Isao Takahata, Japan, 1991.
120 min. Color. DCP.
Voices of Daisy Ridley, Dev Patel, Alison Fernandez
In English. Rated PG.
Animation First 2019 Guest of Honor, Michel Ocelot, introduces a special screening of Only Yesterday, one of his favorite films by Isao Takahata, the renowned filmmaker and co-founder of Japan’s famed Studio Ghibli, who died in 2018.
Only Yesterday follows Taeko, a 27-year-old unmarried woman who has spent her whole life in Tokyo. Taeko decides to visit her relatives in the countryside to take part in the safflower harvest. As her train travels through the night, memories of her childhood rush back. Upon her arrival in the countryside, she is met by Toshio, a young farmer, and her stay turns into a time of longing and questioning as Taeko is consumed by memories of growing up and events that have shaped her as a woman.
Switching between past and present, Only Yesterday is a beautiful and subtle film, emotionally honest and rich with humor.
Isao Takahata was a scholar of French culture and a great friend of France, where he traveled extensively. His admiration for the films of Paul Grimault inspired him to become an animation filmmaker. In return, he was an important influence on French cinema. His connection to Michel Ocelot: he wrote the Japanese subtitles for Ocelot’s film Kirikou and the Sorceress. Takahata was awarded the Honor of Officier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in 2015. Read an interview about Takahata here (In French).