Hayao Miyazaki’s final film, The Boy and the Heron has a busy schedule for September. The hand-drawn animated feature, which was released in theaters in Japan on July 14, will open the Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 7 and then, just two weeks later, will kick off San Sebastian Festival, opening the 71st edition of the famed Spanish festival on Sept. 22.
The movie will screen out of competition at San Sebastian, unspooling at the Kursaal Auditorium after the opening gala.
Producers Studio Ghibli have described the film as “a grand fantasy” loosely inspired by Japanese author Genzaburo Yoshino’s 1937 novel How Do You Live?, a coming-of-age story about the emotional and philosophical development of a young boy after the death of his father. But they have been uncharacteristically secretive about the movie’s content. Ghibli took the unprecedented step of doing no marketing in Japan for the film, releasing no trailers and no plot summary, hoping fans see the film with no preconceptions.
San Sebastian has long been a Miyazaki super-fan. The Boy and the Heron will mark the fourth Miyazaki film to screen at the festival, albeit the first time he has been part of San Sebastian’s official selection. He previously appeared in the festival’s Velodrome section with Spirited Away and Ponyo, and in the Perlak sidebar with The Wind Rises. Two other Ghibli films have been selected in the Perlak section this year: The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2013) by Isao Takahata and Red Turtle (2016) by Michael Dudok de Wit.