Renowned Japanese animator and Studio Ghibli chief Hayao Miyazaki has twice announced his retirement. But you can't keep the man from his art, and Miyazaki now returns with another masterpiece in the making, The Boy and the Heron.
The legendary creator of Spirited Away and countless other Studio Ghibli classics now brings us another delicate and visually ravishing fable. It centres on a young boy named Mahito Maki who discovers an abandoned tower in his new town and enters a fantastical world with a talking grey heron.
It sounds like classic Studio Ghibli territory, openly crossing the boundary between make-believe and reality to fashion a powerful statement on man's connection with nature and the limits of one's own imagination. The title is borrowed from the 1937 novel of the same name but otherwise is a completely original creation.
The film is slated to be Miyazaki's last, although we've heard that before. If it's true, then The Boy and the Heron will be a genuine historical marking point, capping off one of the most astonishing careers in the history of animation.
No UK release has been officially announced yet. However, the movie is playing at the 2023 BFI London Film Festival where it will no doubt turn heads and cause people's breath to catch in their throats.
Watch the trailer for The Boy and the Heron and judge for yourself as to whether this will stand alongside the best of Studio Ghibli's output.