The word "genius" gets batted around with regard to filmmakers with a numbing, reductive frequency. But if Hayao Miyazaki doesn’t qualify for that title, who does? Since making his directorial debut with 1979’s The Castle of Cagliostro, Miyazaki has blazed his own distinct trail, blending atomic-clock action timing with an awe-inspiring, hand-rendered sense of the infinite. As a NW Film Center retrospective (screening at the Whitsell Auditorium, and featuring new, subtitled, 35mm prints) demonstrates, nobody else can balance exhilarating weightlessness with moral gravity in quite the same proportions.
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