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    Studio Ghibli Rolls Out ‘The Boy and the Heron’ Film Stills

    A month into the release of Hayao Miyazaki‘s final film, The Boy and the Heron, Studio Ghibli reveals the first official stills of the movie.

    Studio Ghibli opted for a zero marketing approach leading up to the release of the film to limit preconceptions. “Deep down, I think this is what moviegoers latently desire,” said the studio’s president Toshio Suzuki of the approach. As of now, no trailer or further promotional materials have been disclosed.

    The new series of stills arrive as international premiere dates are announced. Images reveal familiar animation styles as adored in classics such as Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke.

    The Boy and the Heron is set to launch as the opening film for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on September 9, and run during the New York Film Festival taking place between September 29 and October 15. Although no formal marketing was done for the film, the movie had the strongest opening weekend for a Studio Ghibli film in Japan ever, and has made over $43 million USD at the box office since its release.

    Below is a description of the film from TIFF:

    The first film in a decade from Hayao Miyazaki is a ravishing, endlessly inventive fantasy that is destined to be ranked with the legendary animator’s finest, boldest works. While the Second World War rages, the teenage Mahito, haunted by his mother’s tragic death, is relocated from Tokyo to the serene rural home of his new stepmother Natsuko, a woman who bears a striking resemblance to the boy’s mother. As he tries to adjust, this strange new world grows even stranger following the appearance of a persistent gray heron, who perplexes and bedevils Mahito, dubbing him the “long-awaited one.” Indeed, an extraordinary and grand fate is in store for our young hero, who must journey to a subterranean alternate reality in the hopes of saving Natsuko —and perhaps himself.

    Uniting the countryside surreality of My Neighbor Totoro with the Alice in Wonderland–like dream logic of Spirited Away and the personal historical backdrop of The Wind Rises (NYFF51), yet fabricating something ingeniously original, The Boy and the Heron is a deeply felt work of eccentric beauty brimming with inspired images that lodge in the mind, from the adorable to the grotesque. Moving from earthbound serenity to a universe of boundless imagination, Miyazaki’s long-anticipated film seeks, once and for all, a world without malice. A GKIDS release.

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