As part of the Carnegie Hall JapanNYC festival, Zankel Hall premiered two Hayao Miyazaki short films never before shown in the United States:

Actually, these are amongst the films only shown at the Ghibli museum, so it was amazing to have the opportunity to view them at all!

The two short films were:

Now GhibliWorld has very detailed review of both films in their archive so I’ll leave the more critical minds to do extended explorations of both. I’ll provide “elevator” reviews to come.

But what I thought was worth sharing is what Steve Alpert, who has been involved with the studio since at least Mononoke Hime, had to say about Ghibli’s response to the earthquake in Northern Japan. (Steve, if I’m misquoting you here I apologize; email and I will edit this accordingly).

Just to give us a sense of the geography, Alpert mentioned that like most of the world, Tokyo has been following the story of the Northern Japan earthquakes via the news. Power failures and public transport cancellations (which are still occuring) caused the Studio to be closed until the Thursday after the earthquake.

When the studio did reopen, Hayao Miyazaki gathered together all the studio’s staff to a meeting. His message was that the best they could do was what they were doing - continue working on their films, and help where they could.

Like many other Tokyo based companies, they’ve participated in clothing and food drives for those left homeless. In addition, the studio has been arranging for free screenings of their movies where the children of the million housed in the shelters - and no, that’s not a typo, nor is it that number something that my brain can get around - can see the Studio Ghibli films and escape for just a little while.