Hayao Miyazaki is a once-in-a-generation talent. He’s really good at writing, drawing, directing, and animating award-winning films like Spirited Away and The Castle of Cagliostro that change people’s lives and live on as classics for decades. What he’s really bad at, though, is retiring, as you can see in the new English language trailer for a documentary about him called Never-Ending Man.
Miyazaki has announced his retirement from making feature-length films several times, and each time he’s returned. Never-Ending Man follows him after a 2013 press conference in which he said, “I’ve made a stir before by saying I’m quitting. So people don’t believe me. But this time I mean it.” In November 2016, however, rumors emerged that he was working on a short film that would be his first foray into computer-generated animation. Nearly a year later, October 2017, he announced the title for his final feature film would be Kimitachi wa Do Ikiru ka, or How Do You Live, based on the 1937 Genzaburo Yoshino novel of the same name.
The Never-Ending Man, distributed in the US by GKIDS, documents the period directly after his latest attempt at quitting animation. It begins with a restless and fatalistic Miyazaki, keeping his idle hands busy with sketches, strong coffee, and cigarettes. Over the course of the film, the ideas that will become his CGI animated short Boro the Caterpillar and How Do You Live begin to bud and blossom.
“For animation fans, there are few filmmakers more revered than Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki, or more enigmatic. His rare interviews and appearances make the documentary Never-Ending Man all the more vital,” GKIDS President Dave Jesteadt told VICE.
“The movie is completely unstaged. It’s like spending time with Hayao Miyazaki and getting to know him and hanging out in his home and his studio as he struggles to do something he has never done before,” Eric Beckman, CEO of GKIDS, added. “There are moments of insecurity and doubt, a self awareness of the weight of his legacy, the sense that he simply must create something vital, but is unsure of how.” Beckman believes the documentary will be of interest to anyone with even a passing interest in the films of Studio Ghibli, and believes it’s an unparalleled look at a great master in the act of creation.
This unique look at the enigmatic animation legend originally aired on NHK Japan in 2016, and will receive its first English subtitled theatrical release on December 13 and 18. Get more information on the official website.