Film Screening 16th June, 2018

Poster for Mary and the Witch’s Flower

Mary and the Witch’s Flower 

7:00 PM, 16th June, 2018

  • PG
  • 103 mins
  • 2017
  • Hiromasa Yonebayashi
  • Hana Sugisaki, Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Yûki Amami, Fumiyo Kohinata


Mary and the Witch’s Flower is the exciting new film from Hiromasa Yonebayashi, director of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There. It is also the debut feature from Studio Ponoc, the practical and spiritual successor to the renowned Studio Ghibli, and continues the distinctive style and ethos of Ghibli animation.

An adaptation of “The Little Broomstick” by Mary Stewart, the film is the story of Mary, who finds a mysterious flower which grants her the power to become a witch. This discovery sets her off on a magical adventure that is not without secrets and danger, as she embarks on a journey to explore the new world to which her powers have granted her access.

This animated feature contains many of the classic Ghibli tropes – a dynamic female protagonist, inventive uses and applications of magic, cool flying sequences and awesome cat companions. There is also lush, gorgeous animation and beautiful imagery, which don’t just bring out the everyday details of Mary’s rural village, but also help to build the believable and intricate fantasy world she encounters.

A must-see for any fan of Ghibli or Japanese animation, but also an enjoyable, accessible, family-friendly delight.

Kellie Tanaka

Poster for Fireworks (Uchiage Hanabi)

Fireworks (Uchiage Hanabi) 

8:53 PM, 16th June, 2018

  • PG
  • 90 mins
  • 2017
  • Akiyuki Shinbô, Nobuyuki Takeuchi
  • Suzu Hirose, Masaki Suda, Mamoru Miyano, Takako Matsu


The title refers (more explicitly in its longer Japanese version) to a dispute between two Japanese teenagers: do fireworks explode into circular discs, or spheres? But that has nothing whatever to do with the story - it just gives us an excuse for some pretty shots of fireworks - so now I've mentioned it, you can forget it.

The real story involves two boys in love with the same girl, Nazuna, who is planning to run away from home along with one of the two boys on the night of the aforementioned fireworks. When the moment comes, she will announce which one, but her plan fails – or so it seems. It just so happens that earlier that day Nazuna had found an unearthly transparent orb by the sea, with supernatural powers that give her multiple chances to fulfil her plan.

The film seems to be trying to recapture elements of the recent anime hit Your Name: intimate drama, intense adolescent longing, supernatural weirdness, and visual beauty you can all but swim in. It’s not quite as successful in bringing the lot together – but then, what is? The story works well in its own right, and the fireworks, flat or round, shine bright.

Henry Fitzgerald