Hayao Miyazaki officially announces his retirement
At a live press conference, Studio Ghibli's Hayao Miyazaki announces his sad retirement from feature filmmaking...
As we heard at the Venice Film Festival on the 1st September, animator, artist and filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki is to retire from filmmaking. This was confirmed in a live broadcast earlier this morning, in which Miyazaki appeared in person to formally announce his departure.
There was a solemn atmosphere in the Tokyo press room, as Miyazaki gave the press his official statement, and insisted that, even though he'd announced his retirement before, "this time it's real."
In a Q and A after the statement, Miyazaki talked of his filmmaking career, and how it had taken him an increasingly long time to make movies over the past decade. Ponyo, he said, took five years to create "because of his age."
"Next time, [a film] might take seven years, which means if I did another film, I'd be 80. I feel my days of feature films are done. If I say I want to [carry on], it would be like an old man saying something foolish."
He went on to talk about how tiring he'd begun to find the process of drawing and directing his films, and that he'd begun to have to leave the office earlier and earlier due to fatigue.
As for whether he'd be willing to return to make short films in the future, he remained vague. "As it is written in my retirement statement, I'm free to do something else, and that could be anything, not just animation," Miyazaki said, but did mention earlier in the conference, "I could find something during my break, but if I promise something, I risk breaking that."
The conversation then turned to the topic of Studio Ghibli's future, and what will happen in Miyazaki's absence.
"I'm 65 years old right now," said Ghibli executive Toshio Suzuki, "and the young animators at Studio Ghibli, they'll decide the future."
"I'm expecting the young staff will want to do something," Miyazaki added. "When I was 30 or 40 years, I had a lot of plans, strong determination. It depends whether the young staff have that determination."
"[During] this film, The Wind Rises, I'd been interacting with Mr Miyazaki, and I thought he'd be making films until he passed away" Suzuki said. "Of course, you can't do everything perfectly, but I thought he'd always be involved. But I've known Mr Miyazaki for 35 years, and I thought he'd say he was retiring and that he would just start something else."
It's a sad yet inevitable day for animation and filmmaking as a whole, but although Miyazaki's filmmaking career is now behind him, it's all the easier to admire his now complete body of work.
In a particularly moving moment, Miyazaki was asked which of his films he liked most, and what the message behind it was.
"Howl's Moving Castle," Miyazaki said, before adding, "I wanted to convey the message that life is worth living, and I don't think that's changed."
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