One of the most bittersweet and lovely documentaries I’ve seen in a very long time is 2013’s “The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness” by Mami Sunada. It detailed the long and arduous process of Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki creating his film “The Wind Rises.”
It was a quiet and serene kind of movie, just watching a genius work and think about his life and career, but it was ultimately sad because, at that time, we assumed “The Wind Rises” was his final film ever. However, we now know he’s back to feature filmmaking, and the new documentary “Never-Ending Man” is here to detail what’s next.
Directed by Kaku Arakawa, “Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki” began following the Oscar-winning filmmaker’s life following his 2013 announcement that he’d finally decided to retire, and indeed only make shorts and help curate the Studio Ghibli museum. However, whereas “Dreams and Madness” was about the end of things, this movie looks to have a much more hopeful vibe, seeing as “the spark” of excitement about animation has returned to the now-76-year-old, thanks to computer animation, something he once swore he’d never use.
Few directors in any medium are as devoted to the creation of that work the way Miyazaki is, and he’s always pushed himself and those working for him to do their absolute best, 100% of the time. But every interview I’ve seen with him has been a man exhausted by his life’s work, so it will be tremendous to see him looking excited and happy.
The film will be released on Japan’s NHK WORLD TV on June 3 and 4. There was no word when it will be available in the U.S. at the time of this writing.