Already acclaimed as a masterpiece in Japan, Hayao Miyazaki’s new film begins as a simple story of loss and love, and rises to become a staggering work of imagination.

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Gala Presentations

The Boy and the Heron

Hayao Miyazaki

Already acclaimed as a masterpiece in Japan, Hayao Miyazaki’s new film begins as a simple story of loss and love, and rises to a staggering work of imagination. Coming after the maker of Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke announced his retirement, The Boy and the Heron is an especially precious gift, and possibly the final film we will see from one of cinema’s greatest artists.

As a boy, Miyazaki read Genzaburo Yoshino’s novel How Do You Live? and embraced it as his favourite. This film was initially announced as an adaptation of that book, but Miyazaki uses it instead as one of many layers in a dazzling tapestry that draws even more upon his own youth.

During the Second World War, young Mahito Maki (Soma Santoki) suffers a heartbreaking family tragedy and must move immediately to the countryside, where his father (Takuya Kimura) works for a family making planes for Japan’s military, as Miyazaki’s own father did.

Isolated, Mahito begins exploring the mysterious landscapes and encounters a grey heron, persistent in its presence. The boy also happens upon an abandoned tower. Curious, he enters. From there, The Boy and the Heron expands into a wondrous, often-startling phantasmagoria.

Visually, the film shows Miyazaki at the height of his powers, filling the frame with gorgeous compositions, vibrant colour, and arresting movement. As it draws you deeper into its mysteries, The Boy and the Heron becomes richer, stranger, and more profoundly beautiful. This is a singular, transformative experience in film, and not to be missed.

Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival

Content advisory: mature themes; may frighten young children

Screenings

Thu Sep 07

VISA Screening Room at the Princess of Wales Theatre

Premium
6:00pm
Thu Sep 07

Roy Thomson Hall

Regular
8:00pm
Fri Sep 08

Scotiabank 1

Press
9:00am
Sat Sep 09

Roy Thomson Hall

Regular
10:30am
Sun Sep 10

Scotiabank 12

Regular
12:05pm
Fri Sep 15

Scotiabank 12

Regular
8:55am
Sat Sep 16

TIFF Bell Lightbox 2

Regular
5:50pm