When Marnie Was There at the Vancity on Friday. It's the new, and possibly the final, Studio Ghibli film, though not directed by Miyazaki himself, but rather Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who helmed the Ghibli adaptation of The Borrowers (The Secret World of Arietty) a few years ago. It's quite delightful, if gentle and somewhat sentimental, and gets my recommendation. (One of my Japanese students, on the other hand, thought it was "boring," but she's young; I think it's probably a film for an older audience, which may explain why it didn't get a very enthusiastic reception in Japan). Yes, the big reveals at the end are a tad on the discursive side, and the story is rather simple, at least compared to a film like Spirited Away, but there's such a sweet, rich beauty to the animation, coupled with such a sincere nostalgia for life in smalltown Japan - it's like The Village Green Preservation Society of anime - that it's a must-see. Even if I hadn't been touched by the story, I would have loved it for the landscapes and digressive details alone. Moments like a "shot" of delicately illustrated shorebirds feeding, included for no reason beyond sharing a love of place and nature, almost made tears well up in my eyes, they were so lovely.