By: Cayce McCarthy
Hey, Femm readers I’ve got something really cool to share with you! There has been a Japanese family film done by the famous animator, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, that has been played in film festivals for the past year that will be coming to select theaters in February and March. The film is called, Mary and the Witch’s Flower. Now some of you are probably wondering if this is a Studio Ghibli film, it’s not. However, Yonebayashi has been a key animator to past Ghibli films such as The Secret World of Arrietty, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle.
This will be Yonebayashi’s third film that he’s directed, and the first film done by a new studio called, Studio Ponco. Yonebayashi began his director’s debut with the film, The Secret World of Arrietty, making him the youngest director for Ghibli. His second film, When Marine Was There, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2015 (IMDb.com) According to an article done by, The Verge, Yonebayashi and his producer friend, Yoshiaki Nishimura, decided to branch off on their own after Ghibli’s founders, Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, announced their retirement and the studio moved from doing animations. These two veterans are now trying to run their own studio where they hope to bring back the style of storytelling Ghibli had in its early years.
This film is based on the book The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart. The story follows Mary who lives with her Great-Aunt Charlotte in the country. Mary doesn’t have many friends and feels her life to be boring. One day she decides to follow a black cat into the woods where she finds these glowing blue flowers and an old broomstick. The power of the flower sends Mary on a ride on the broom up to a witch’s college in the clouds called Endor’s College. While there Mary discovers that the school is in danger and after getting in trouble she must go on an adventure to redeem herself and save the school. Mary’s story is the typical story of a young girl trying to find her rightful place in the world; a coming of age story if you will. This film has the American voice acting talents of Ruby Barnhill as Mary, Ewen Bremner as Flanagan, Jim Broadbent as Dr. Dee, and Kate Winslet as Madam Mumblechook.
I honestly hope I can watch this movie one day, but I’ll probably have to wait for the DVD release or to try and find it on Hulu or Amazon Prime. It’s sure to be a classic family movie and if you’re already a fan of Studio Ghibli films then you’ll love this new movie. I can’t wait to see what Yonebayashi and his new studio will do next. I’m just glad there’s a studio out there who decided to keep doing awesome animated features like this outside the U.S. See you guys later.