Between making the most upsetting animated film of all time (kids-during-wartime masterpiece ‘Grave of the Fireflies’) and one of the weirdest movies ever (testicle-flipping revolutionary raccoon freakout ‘Pom Poko’) Studio Ghibli’s Isao Takahata directed this calm, reflective, gorgeously uneventful slice of nostalgic romance.
‘Only Yesterday’ is a simple tale of self-discovery set against the beautifully animated backdrop of rural Yamagata, Honshu island. It’s here that unmarried Tokyo twentysomething Taeko travels one summer to take part in the local safflower harvest. Lulled by the pace of country life and gently wooed by her second cousin Toshio, Taeko finds herself consumed by memories of her school days.
This reissue features an imperfect, all-new voice track, with Daisy Ridley as Taeko and a slightly awkward Dev Patel as Toshio. But it’s more than worth it to see this extraordinarily rich, thoughtful and deeply moving film back on the big screen.