Mimi wo Sumaseba (1995, JAP) C-111m. **** D: Yoshifumi Kondo. Starring (the voices of) Youko Honna, Kazuo Takahashi, Takashi Tachibana, Shigeru Muroi, Shigeru Tsuyuguchi, Keiju Kobayashi. Bookworm Honna, on the verge of puberty, finds out there's somebody who has checked out the same books that she's been reading and sets out to find him, her soulmate? Although she really ought to study for her school entrance exams, she finds herself drawn to an old antique shop and the owner's son, a violin-maker. Simply wonderful drama about love, friendship, growing-up, the pangs of puberty, and most importantly, self-confidence, is lovingly animated and beautifully scored. A masterpiece, written and produced by Hayao Miyazaki for Studio Ghibli, one of their very best achievements. The story within the story is a gem! Based on a one-volume manga by Aoi Hîragi. Sadly, this was Miyazaki protégé Kondo's only film as a director. He died of an aneurysm in 1998. Two of the characters (The Baron and Muta) returned in the 2002 Ghibli feature NEKO NO ONGAESHI (THE CAT RETURNS). English title: WHISPER OF THE HEART.

© Ron Altman