GKIDS has finally pulled back the curtain—just a smidge—on the enigmatic new film from Studio Ghibli, The Boy and the Heron, by dropping a pre-teaser that offers a sneak peek into the film’s core ideas and narrative arc. The film represents Hayao Miyazaki’s grand re-entrance to the world of filmmaking after a decade-long hiatus and will be presented in Studio Ghibli’s trademark hand-drawn animation style. Already causing quite a buzz, all available tickets for its showcase at the Toronto International Film Festival have been snatched up.
The shroud of secrecy surrounding The Boy and the Heron had been impenetrable, making it one of the most elusive releases from the iconic filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki—known for seminal works like Spirited Away. Until now, Studio Ghibli had kept the fans in the dark, releasing no trailers or even snippets ahead of its July debut in Japan.
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The recently dropped ‘pre-teaser’ serves as an appetizer for the main course—the first official teaser slated to launch on September 6. The film will then bask in the spotlight during the Opening Night Gala of the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival on September 7. This will be followed by its broader North American release later this fall. Helmed by Studio Ghibli’s co-founder, this film marks Miyazaki’s return after a 10-year break and will be rendered in the studio’s inimitable hand-drawn animation.
While the pre-teaser is short on visual samples of Ghibli’s distinctive animation style, it does offer us a tantalizing taste of the story. “A lad named Mahito yearns for his absent mother and embarks on a journey in a realm where the living coexist with the departed,” reveals the teaser. It adds, “In this realm, mortality concludes and existence finds a fresh chapter.” Though cryptic, this tidbit sets the stage for what appears to be a poignant exploration of a young boy’s struggle with life, mortality, and unresolved sorrow. The pre-teaser also hints that the narrative is a semi-autobiographical tale inspired by Miyazaki’s own life journey.
Image Courtesy of Toho
This film has already stirred up a frenzy of anticipation among not just the Ghibli faithful, but cinephiles in general. Seats for its Toronto International Film Festival screenings vanished faster than a magician’s rabbit, indicating a hot ticket item indeed. Following its Toronto premiere, the film is set to make the rounds at other prestigious venues, such as the New York Film Festival, before making its way to general North American cinemas later this autumn. The wait for the first official teaser is almost over; it will go live next week, on September 6, just a day before the film’s gala premiere in Toronto.