Written by Reem Saleh, New Media, DFI
Film: Howl’s Moving Castle
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Stars: Chieko Baishô, Takuya Kimura and Tatsuya Gashûin
Duration: 119 mins
This is the second month of the DFI Japanese Cinema showcase marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Qatar and Japan.(http://www.dohafilminstitute.com/films/howl-s-moving-castle)
In Celebration, the Qatar Museum’s Authority is leading the Qatar Japan 2012 initiative through a series of events taking place in both Qatar and Japan as a token of friendship between the two nations.
In this initiative people in Qatar have the chance to watch great films from acclaimed Japanese directors. Tonight marks the screening of the 2006 Oscar nominated animation “Howl’s Moving Castle”, a visually spectacular journey from award winning director Hayao Miyazaki.
18-year old Sophie (voiced by Emily Mortimer), spends her time working in a hat shop her late father opened years ago. One day, on her way back home, a group of young men harass her and this is where she meets the very handsome and stranger Wizard Howl (voiced by Christian Bale) who saves her, but at the same time gets her involved in a long bittersweet adventure. But, the Witch of the Waste is displeased with Sophie and Howl’s growing friendship, and turns the pretty young woman into an ugly 90-year-old (voiced by Jean Simmons).
Not knowing what to do, Sophie decides to take residence in Howl’s moving castle as a cleaning lady, in an attempt to find a way to reverse the witch’s spell with the help of Calcifer a demon in the form of fire who only takes orders from Howl and Markl a young boy who protects the four-way door which can open to 4 different worlds and dimensions.
Adapted from a novel by Diana Wynne Jones, the film is a journey of enchantment, through the eyes of very wise Sophie. Despite her young age, she acts perfectly adequate in the skin of an old woman and becomes indispensable in Howl’s moving castle. She adds feminine warmth, organization and her own natural charm to a group of wizards. She was warned from having her heart broken but Howl can see through her old face and does everything to protect her from evil wizards and wars while she brings sanity back to his life.
Miyazaki teaches his viewers valuable lessons about life, love and wars with visually striking means. But above all he allows us to dream, to walk in the sky, to fight demons and make it all seem so logical and so real. He brings back the child in all of us.