© Los Angeles Times
Takahata was born in Mie Prefecture, although he spent most of his childhood and adolescence in Okayama Prefecture. He grew up in an environment where he had the opportunity to approach literature and music from an early age, and one of his first interests was the history of art, which he would undertake as a course of study. After completing his high school studies, he matriculated at the prestigious University of Tokyo, enrolling in the French literature course and earning a degree in 1954. A great admirer of Prévert’s poetry, which he discovered during his university period, so much so that he later translated his works from French to Japanese. A collection of these works was published in late 2004. While at university he developed an interest in film history and joined the film studies club and wrote articles on film in a student magazine.
He is particularly interested in French cinema and discovers in Prévert not only the poet but also the screenwriter, and his work with the animator Paul Grimault. In 1953 La Bergère et le ramoneur by Grimault and Prévert was released in France, a work of great importance but denied by its authors – in this version – because it was poorly edited and incomplete. Despite this, the film was still screened in Japan two years later, strongly captivating the public. For Takahata this film is an illumination, since Japanese animation was still firmly tied to the Disney model. La Bergère et le ramoneur becomes for him a starting point to explore everything that animated cinema allows you to do.
Isao Takahata & Tom Bancroft
In this tenth edition, the years have passed quickly and inexorably but they have had the merit of making the event grow with the presence of the most important and famous names in the world of animation, and to crown these ten years of continuous success this year we wanted to propose the meeting of two universes, two ways of conceiving Animation, the Japanese and the American one, different and complementary at the same time.