Arrietty is Studio Ghibli’s latest film, based on Mary Norton’s novel The Borrowers from 1952. Arrietty is set in a Tokyo suburb, even though the people, as almost always in the Japanese animated film, doesn?t look very Japanese. One of the most fascinating things with these books and films is the way the borrowers take things from the ordinary world to make use of in their tiny little miniature home.
In the book and earlier films the relationship between Arrietty and the boy of the house is one based on friendship, but Yonebayashi is here rather showing a more passionate affection than that. There is also an almost ecological concern in the film, that we have to preserve disappearing species, as well as a lesson to us not to fear the different, regardless if it?s big or small.
To celebrate the introduction of a new garden at Chauffeurs Cottage Metal will be showing The Secret Garden featuring Maggie Smith (Professor Minerva McGonagall in Harry Potter). Thanks to the newly-opened Shelley-Godwin Archive, you can read “for the first time in digital form all the known manuscripts of Frankenstein,” Mary Shelley’s finest work and arguably the most famous work of British Romanticism. This became the kernel of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, the novel first published in London in 1818, with only 500 copies put in circulation. Funded by The National Endowment for the Humanities and The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the new archive was assembled by the University of Maryland’s Institute for Technology in the Humanities, The New York Public Library, the Bodleian Library, The Huntington, and the Harvard University Library. Down the line, the Shelley-Godwin Archive “will provide the digitized manuscripts of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, William Godwin, and Mary Wollstonecraft, bringing together online for the first time ever the widely dispersed handwritten legacy of this uniquely gifted family of writers.” So stay tuned for more. Note: The Archive recommends using recent versions of Google’s Chrome browser or the latest version of Safari or Mozilla Firefox when viewing the manuscripts. Puedes escribir una crA­tica de esta pelA­cula para que el resto de los usuarios la pueda leer. Si alguna sinopsis cuenta demasiados detalles del argumento -o para corregir errores o completar datos de la ficha- por favor mA?ndanos un mensaje.


Arrietty belongs to the four-inch tall Clock family who lives anonymously in another, ‘big’, family’s residence and their home is a collection of things they have borrowed from the big world. The narrative is elegant and floats freely, even if the style is almost too polished and impersonal. These underlying issues could have been more developed as they are here overshadowed by the love story between Arrietty and Sho. My imagination, unbidden, possessed and guided me, gifting the successive images that arose in my mind with a vividness far beyond the usual bounds of reverie. Arrietty is directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi who worked as an animator on Ghibli classics like Spirited Away, Howl?s Moving Castle and Ponyo. Mary Norton?s novel is a very British product and even though the film from 1997 is set in America, the borrowers remain British. It makes you see your own world with new eyes and how you can make creative use of everything from needles, to corks, old wrapping paper or fragments of glass. When she stands in his hand and they look deeply into each other’s eyes, while the music score is playing a love song, it gets almost kinky. The film is otherwise a very well made film that is a pleasure to watch, even though it could have been a bit more creative, fantastic and imaginative.
I saw — with shut eyes, but acute mental vision, — I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. The screenplay is written by Studio Ghibli’s leading man, Hayao Miyazaki, who also stands as executive producer for the film.
It is, then, a bit strange, but also refreshing to see this setting, even though it is a rather westernized version of Japan. This is actually rather disappointing in this version because most of the stuff in the Clock family’s home are already miniature things.


The father has played a big part in the story in previous adaptations, portrayed by actors like Ian Holm and John Goodman, but he is here reduced to a sullen and rather boring character, while the mother is annoyingly hysterical, worried that they will be discovered and forced to move.
I can?t help thinking of King Kong in this scene and it gets even stranger when you think of the fact that she?s only fourteen years old. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Her fear is justified, though, as the lonely sick boy in the host family, Sho, detects Arrietty and they are then trapped thanks to an evil-minded housekeeper. Arrietty used to be a very strong and independent young girl, but she is here dominated by her father and literally in the hands of the boy.
Mary Norton’s classic children’s books have been made into several TV-series of which John Henderson’s The Borrowers from 1992-93 is the most successful, but there has only been one film, Peter Hewitt’s The Borrowers from 1997. Outside there are so many things that could emphasize the size difference in various fantastic ways, such as larger animals, but we see mostly grass and bushes, which is not that fascinating.
I miss the creative use of material things and the imaginative world of the borrowers and wonder if it has something to do with the fact that it?s an animated film.
Everything here is ‘constructed’ and the difference between the real and the miniature world seems minimized.
This is surprising since Studio Ghibli is known for their very imaginative, fantastic and exiting settings in films like Howl?s Moving Castle and Spirited Away.



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