PREVIEW: Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke is a 1997 Studio Ghibli film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The film takes place somewhere between 1336-1573 AD, during Japan’s Muromachi period, but incorporates the fantasy elements Studio Ghibli is known for. Exploring themes of the environment – primarily humans’ relationship with and their dependency on nature – the film follows a prince who finds himself wrapped up in a conflict between the forest spirits and a nearby town. 

I have grown up watching Studio Ghibli films but was always afraid to watch Princess Mononoke because of the more violent imagery compared to that of My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service. While Miyazaki is known for these children’s films, he often touches on themes of war, such as in his film Porco Rosso. About making Princess Mononoke, Miyazaki has said: “I learned that mankind doesn’t learn. After [Porco Rosso], we couldn’t go back and make some film like Kiki’s Delivery Service. It felt like children were being born to this world without being blessed. How could we pretend to them that we’re happy?” I watched Princess Mononoke recently and loved how it touched on heavier topics, with a hopeful ending that at the same time is not escapist, and does not undo all of the strife that had been depicted throughout the film. I highly recommend watching this film, especially in theaters. 

Princess Mononoke will be playing on Friday, February 4 at 10pm as part of the Michigan Theater’s Late Nights series. 

Nellie Shih

Nellie is an architecture student with a love of film, visual art, and waiting for the next season of Succession.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *