Film #69: My Neighbours the Yamadas (1999)

aka: ホーホケキョとなりの山田くん (Hōhokekyo tonari no Yamada-kun)
directed by: Isao Takahata
language: Japanese
length: 104 minutes
watched on: 17 October 2012

So this was the next in my semi-ongoing project of watching all the Ghibli films that I haven’t seen yet (I’ve still to do “Grave of the Fireflies”, at least, although I hear it’s horribly depressing). Like the other ones I’ve been watching recently, this is not Miyazaki, but rather Takahata, Ghibli’s second-most prolific director. Of course, the first thing to note about it is that it’s drawn in a completely different style to ordinary Ghibli movies – instead it employs pencil-like lines and the most minimal of backgrounds.

The plot reflects those backgrounds – it’s minimal and is more of a series of vignettes about the life of a Japanese family. I can’t even recall a basic outline, although there was a four-seasons theme running throughout the movie, and many of the vignettes focussed on the family’s ineptness, and were very character-driven. The grandma especially was an excellent character.

Overall, I quite liked the film, but this review is pretty bare because I can’t really remember much specific about it. I watched it with a Japanese friend, and he got a lot more of the jokes than I did, since it’s heavily based on Japanese family culture, and he was able to come up with a few facts that I wouldn’t have caught on my own (eg, they’re speaking Kansai-ben).

Now I just need to catch up with the rest of these films…

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One Response to Film #69: My Neighbours the Yamadas (1999)

  1. Pingback: Film #189: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013) | reuoq

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