Guillermo del Toro gives the perfect (and surprise) introduction to Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron

 The Boy and the Heron
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Guillermo del Toro gave a surprise introduction to Hayao Miyazaki's The Boy and the Heron, which premiered at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival on September 7.

"He knows what makes my fat butt move!" Del Toro the crowd. "Animation is film, and tonight’s film goes beyond that. Animation is art."

"We are living in a time when Mozart is composing symphonies. Van Gogh is painting paintings. Because Miyazaki-san is a master of that stature," he continued. "He has made his films as full of problems and questions as he is. These are not easy films, but they are films that portray him so intimately that you feel that you are having a conversation with him. They are paradoxical, because he understands that beauty cannot exist without horror, and that delicacy cannot exist without brutality. He makes elegance of these things, and shows life on the screen in a beautiful way."

You can watch del Toro's full speech below.

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The Boy and the Heron aka How Do You Live?, produced by Studio Ghibli, follows a teenage boy named Mahito Maki (Soma Santoki) as he enters a magical world with a talking grey heron (Masaki Suda). Though the film borrows its Japanese title from the 1937 novel of the same name by Genzaburo Yoshino, Miyazaki crafted an original story about love and familial grief.

Though the film was said to be Miyazaki's last, Studio Ghibli VP Junichi Nishioka reportedly stated that the gifted filmmaker is "already coming into the office with new ideas." Miyazaki has 11 films under his belt, including Ponyo, Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky, and Kiki's Delivery Service (all of which have made me cry my eyes out at some point or another).

The Boy and the Heron premiered in Japan on July 14, 2023, and will be internationally released on December 8, 2023. For more, check out our list of the most exciting upcoming movies in 2023 and beyond.