It has become a bit of a Christmas tradition for Film4 to do a season of Studio Ghibli movies over the festive period. They seem to do it every year now, and it is always a welcome present.
Christmas is all about eating and watching loads of films, and the work of legendary Japanese animation studio is absolutely perfect for that. Most of them are suitable for the whole family, they’re foreign so you feel like you’re being cultural, and if your parents got a big new TV this year they’ll look amazing in HD.
So far, they’ve announced three of the main classics on Twitter, all directed by studio co-founder Hayao Miyazaki: the Oscar-winning Spirited Away, the delightful Ponyo, and perhaps his greatest work, My Neighbour Totoro (that’s actually on Christmas Day afternoon, if you’re looking for an alternative to the normal terrestrial schedule).
Also showing is The Cat Returns, a lesser known but still delightful Ghibli about a girl who gets swept off to a magical kingdom and starts to turn into a cat.
The full list announced showings so far are:
- The Cat Returns (Friday December 21th, 11am)
- Ponyo (Sunday December 23th, 11am)
- My Neighbour Totoro (Tuesday December 25th, 12.45pm & Saturday December 29, 11am)
- Spirited Away (Sunday December 30th, 1.10pm & Thursday January 3rd, 12.50am)
We are sure a few more will be announced as well.
Film4 are very good at showing both the subtitled and dubbed versions. The subtitled ones tend to be during the day – so if you are watching with younger relatives who maybe aren’t the best readers yet, they can still get introduced into the wonderful world of Studio Ghibli. And then for the purists, the subtitled versions are often on at night so you can stay up or DVR them for the proper experience.