Cinejabber: A taste of one of 2012's treats

Posted by · 9:34 am · October 8th, 2011

Welcome, again, to Cinejabber: our free ‘n’ easy open thread for you to air whatever cinematic matters are on your mind. With Kris wrapped up in wedding preparations today, I’m filling in for him, but it’s not all bad news — you get a break from Batman-related headlines, for starters. (I kid because I love.)

With nothing specific on my mind as I enjoy my last free weekend before the London Film Festival devours my life for the rest of October, this seems as good a time as any to pitch an early flag for a delightful film that hasn’t let go of my imagination since I saw it a couple of weeks ago — the latest Studio Ghibli animated wonder “Arrietty” (or “The Borrowers” in some quarters).

I say early, though here in the UK I was late catching up to it — the film opened here back in July, swiftly charming audiences and discerning family audiences alike. Based on the classic Mary Norton children’s novel — previously, and more gauchely, filmed as a live-action feature with John Goodman back in 1997 — it’s an adaptation that brilliantly fuses the gentle English classicism of the source with the Japanese studio’s more floridly eccentric storytelling sensibility. Hayao Miyazaki was one of the screenwriters, and dare I say the new film achieves the balances even more elegantly than the master’s own British kid-lit adaptation “Howl’s Moving Castle.”

I’ll have more to say about the film closer to its February 2012 release in the US. For now, however, I have to wonder why Disney hasn’t thought to qualify the film for 2011 Oscar consideration; in a year when the Best Animated Feature race is looking uncharacteristically thin (and we face the depressing possibility of seeing three sequels nominated), “Arrietty” couldn’t be a more viable and welcome contender for the near-annual higher-brow slot in the category. Here’s hoping busier competition next year doesn’t keep it out.

Anyway, just a taster for a conversation I’ll no doubt be picking up in later months. Random, but that’s precisely what Cinejabber is about. Meanwhile, what’s on your mind? Take the floor.

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