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Studio Ghibli co-founder and director Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday, Pom Poko) revealed during the 62nd Locarno International Film Festival on Friday that his next film will be based on the classic Japanese folktale Taketori Monogatari (The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter). The 10th century tale, known by virtually every Japanese child, revolves around a princess named Kaguya who was discovered as a baby inside the stalk of a glowing bamboo plant. Takahata mentioned his new work during an onstage conversation with French animation director Michel Ocelot (Azur et Asmar, Kirikou and the Sorceress). Takahata had received a Honorific Leopard award from the festival the day before.
Takahata has not directed a film since 1999's My Neighbors the Yamadas. As Studio Ghibli's new president, Koji Hoshino revealed in February of 2008 that Takahata and Goro Miyazaki "are both developing works" for release after Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo opened that summer. The following month, Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki said on his Ghibli Asemamire radio show that Takahata will base his next film on a Japanese lullaby. A November 27, 2008 entry in the official Studio Ghibli blog reported that co-founder Hayao Miyazaki (who is Goro's father) had discussed plans for two feature-length films over the next three years with his studio staffers.
Taketori Monogatari directly inspired dozens of manga and anime stories, such as Reiko Shimizu's Kaguya Hime and Arina Tanemura's Sakura-Hime Kaden. It also influenced elements in other titles such as Naoko Takeuchi's Sailor Moon, Rumiko Takahashi's Inuyasha and the Inuyasha the Movie 2: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass spinoff film. Although it is not directly inspired by the folktale itself, Leiji Matsumoto's Queen Millennia manga and television series is called Shin Taketori Monogatari Sennen Joō in Japanese.
Update: GhibliWorld.com notes that Suzuki had hinted about Takahata's next work during his Ghibli Asemamire show on June 18.
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