At this point in the semester, midterms abound and professors are not so subtly encouraging us to start thinking about our final papers and projects. With all these impending deadlines, it’s easy to get stressed. This is precisely why it is all the more important to remember to #treatyoself every once in awhile.
If you’re looking for a way to destress for a couple hours on the weekends, going to the movies is a great option. The Landmark Theatres in DC are currently hosting a Studio Ghibli series. Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation film studio, and the Landmark Theatres are showing two different Ghibli movies every weekend through Sunday, April 16th.
All Ghibli movies have engrossing story lines, which often feature strong female leads, and gorgeous animation. In addition, these movies have beautiful soundtracks and usually involve a lot of cute animals. I personally grew up watching Ghibli movies, so they never fail to make me feel nostalgic. However, even if you’re new to the world of Ghibli, you are sure to have a wonderful experience watching any one of the movies.
Full information about the film series can be found on Facebook, but I am going to highlight a few of my favorite Ghibli films that are playing in the series. Spirited Away (2001) is director Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpiece that follows the story of a young girl named Chihiro. In the beginning of the film, we find Chihiro and her family in the process of moving to a new home. They get lost along the way and wind up in what looks like an abandoned amusement park.
However, there is much more to this amusement park than meets the eye, as Chihiro finds herself launched into a fantastic world filled with spirits. This film won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2003, so this is a definite must see during the film series.
Another classic Ghibli film is Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989), also by Hayao Miyazaki. This movie is about a 13-year-old witch named Kiki. As is customary for young witches, Kiki sets out on her own in the beginning of the film to get experience in a new city and figure out what her special talent as a witch is.
Kiki’s Delivery Service is a coming-of-age film, dealing with themes of self doubt and new beginnings. The English version of this film is also filled with funny jokes made by Kiki’s talking cat, Jiji. This movie is ultimately uplifting, as we share in Kiki’s challenges and triumphs as she embarks on her journey of self discovery.
The last film I am going to highlight is My Neighbor Totoro (1988), again by Hayao Miyazaki. In this movie, two young sisters named Satsuki and Mei move to a new house with their father, while their mother is in a nearby hospital recovering from an illness. The sisters and their father quickly notice that their new home is truly magical.
Most significantly, Mei and Satsuki get to know an adorable spirit named Totoro, who lives in a nearby forest. Over the course of the film, Totoro becomes a true friend and guardian to these little girls. While there are moments of suspense, the cute creatures and upbeat score make this a movie that will leave you smiling for days.
This film series started last weekend, but you still have plenty of time to see these movies. The Landmark Theatres are showing the same 12 movies on different days at their West End Cinema on M Street, their E Street Cinema, and their Bethesda Row Cinema. Most of the movies will have Japanese audio with English subtitles, but select films will be the English language dubbed version. Tickets can be bought in advance on Landmark’s website for $9.50.
The Studio Ghibli movies are all amazing, and even better when seen on the big screen. This film series provides the perfect study break to keep you stress-free for the next month. Instead of locking yourself in Lau all weekend, head on down to a Landmark Theatre location to relive your childhood or discover something totally new.