Nothing makes me happier than the finest animators in the world choosing much-looked-over areas of the UK as the subjects for their films. The Norfolk coastline is one such area, one of England’s forgotten treasures, where sand dunes and marshes cast their hold on the land and salt grasses sway in the breeze amidst myriad rivers and tributaries. From Medieval times onward, rowboats were the predominant form of transport, and you can imagine this kind of atmosphere is going to work well with Ghibli’s magical, flyaway animation style.
Edit: While the creators have officially stated that the setting has been moved to Hokkaido, Japan, it nonetheless is heavily influenced by the Norfolk town the original book was based off, so if you know the King’s Lynn and West Norfolk district, you will find it very familiar indeed! Many thanks to KB and Alua for this information.
‘When Marnie Was There’ is Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s second feature following his 2010 debut ‘Arrietty’. It’s based on the book of the same name by English author Joan G. Robinson, who originally wrote it back in 1967. The story follows solitary child Anna, who is sent off to Norfolk for the summer, where she meets the equally lonesome Marnie, in a desolate house out on the marshes. At its essence, it is a beautiful ghost story about bonding, friendship, and history. It’s part of Miyazaki’s own list of recommended children’s books.
This film promises to be a very moving and beautiful affair. The trailer reveals some lovely aesthetic choices when it comes to scenery and the two main characters, plus the dreamlike music, which is ‘Fine on the Outside’ by Priscilla Ahn, makes me love it even more. I have a feeling that Studio Ghibli is going to use its artful talent to ramp up the sense of calm and quiet power inherent in the original tale. A must see, that’s for sure!
Although it is being released in Japan later this month, currently no US or UK release date has been set, so we shall have to sit tight for now. In the meantime, take a gander at the trailer below, and let us know if you’re looking forward to seeing it!
Main image © marnie.jp