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The Magic of Miyazaki: Enjoy a full weekend of the Japanese movie master.

Hayao Miyazaki has retired three times.

You may ask: How is that possible? How can you retire again?

Ah, well. That is the great trick that Miyazaki, renowned Japanese animator/director and co-founder of Studio Ghibli, has played on us time and time again. He retires—and then comes out of retirement.

It makes sense, really.

The work of Studio Ghibli has served as a bridge for many into the world of anime. In most anime films, each frame is more akin to a painting than an animation, and the stories are rich with meaning and symbolism. The amount of time and effort it takes to pull off each masterpiece, especially with the quality that Miyazaki brings to the production, make it understandable that he would want to take a break. But it seems that retirement is just not interesting enough for the man. There is always another creative endeavor, and that is something that he cannot pass up.

So, as long as Miyazaki keeps coming out of retirement to make more films, Midtown Cinema will keep playing his films en masse—or, at least, for a full weekend.

In July, audiences will get the chance to see four Miyazaki films on the big screen: “Spirited Away,” “Ponyo,” “Howl’s Moving Castle,” and “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.” Hayao Miyazaki has wooed generations of children and adults with these beautifully animated stories, ranging from whimsical to fantastical, with larger-than-life characters, odd scenarios and animist tendencies.

While “Nausicaä” tackles both war and environmental issues head on, “Ponyo” caters to smaller children, conveying a simple story full of magic. And “Spirited Away” is a fan favorite, dripping with symbolism and pushing the limits of imagination. But for this critic, “Howl’s Moving Castle” will always be one step ahead of the others. From the moment Sophie discovers that erratically assembled, chicken-footed castle traipsing about the land, the mysterious Howl has already won us over.

Miyazaki’s whole body of work is a celebration in itself, and we can only hope that it will continue to grow. “Miyazaki Movie Madness” is a retrospective that everyone can get behind.

“Miyazaki Movie Madness” plays July 21-23 at Midtown Cinema, 250 Reily St., Harrisburg. Visit



National Theatre Live
Monday, July 10, 7 p.m.

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
Monday, July 24, 7 p.m.

Outdoor Films
Down in Front! presents
“I Was a Teenage Werewolf” (1957)
Friday, July 14

“Jaws” (1975)
Friday, July 28

3rd in the Burg $3 Movie
“Spirited Away” (2003)
Friday, July 21, 9:30 p.m.

Miyazaki Movie Madness
“Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” (1984)
Friday, July 21, 7 p.m.
Sunday, July 23, 8 p.m.

“Spirited Away” (2003)
Saturday, July 22, 8 p.m.

“Ponyo” (2008)
Saturday, July 22, 2 p.m.
Sunday, July 23, 5 p.m.

“Howl’s Moving Castle” (2005)
Saturday, July 22, 8 p.m.
Sunday, July 23, 2 p.m.

Author: Sammi Leigh Melville

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