The Studio Ghibli Film “Only Yesterday” will be screened at the Barbican on June 24th

The Barbican is running an exhibition about Japanese homes and domestic architecture called The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945. It began on March 23rd and lasts until June 25th. There will be films screened as part of the exhibition. I’ve already written about Princess Kaguya, An Autumn Afternoon, Woman in the Dunes, and Sogo Ishii’s (now known as Gakuryu Ishii) The Crazy Family. The most recent film was Studio Ghibli’s 1995 title Whisper of the Heart and Ghibli leads the way again with Only Yesterday which will be screened on June 24th at 16:00.

Here is the information:

Only Yesterday Film Image 2

Only Yesterday (Literal Title – far superior – Memories Come Tumbling Down)   Only Yesterday Film Poster

おもひでぽろぽろOmohide Poro Poro

Release Date: July 20th, 1991

Running Time: 111 mins.

Director: Isao Takahata

Writer: Isao Takahata (Screenplay), Hotaru Okamoto, Yuuko Tone (Original Manga)

Starring: Miki Imai (Taeko), Toshiro Yanagiba (Toshio), Youko Honna (Taeko (child)), Mayumi Iizuka (Tsuneko), Mei Oshitani (Aiko), Megumi Komine (Toko),


While I prefer the more fantastical side of Studio Ghibli’s output, I recognise that Isao Takahata’s realistic dramas are pretty powerful. I recognise them as powerful because I cried hard when watching them and Only Yesterday, a film aimed at evoking nostalgia in Japanese women had me in tears in its final scenes. According to Wikipedia, the film’s power was pretty great:

The film was a surprise box office success, attracting a large adult audience of all genders and becoming the highest-grossing Japanese film of the year in the country.

Also according to Wikipedia, and here’s interesting film facts and not just my opinion, Takahata had troubled adapting the episodic stories of the source manga and so he created the framing narrative of the main character travelling to Yamagata Prefecture and falling in love. Here is a trailer to give you a taste as to why audiences loved it:

Synopsis from the Barbican: A 27 year old office worker, Taeko Okajima (Miki Imai), leaves the city for her first extended trip outside of Tokyo.

Visiting her sister in rural Yamagata, she daydreams about her younger self and is forced to reflect on her hectic life when she meets a handsome young farmer.

Only Yesterday Film Image

4 thoughts on “The Studio Ghibli Film “Only Yesterday” will be screened at the Barbican on June 24th

  1. I know that Miyzazki’s works are understandably the focus of Ghibli’s output but Takahata’s works shouldn’t be underestimated either. His dramas are rich with emotion and humanity and for me, provide a nice contrast to Miyazaki’s flights of fancy.

    1. I agree with you. I’ll watch any Ghibli film whenever it is screened on Film4 but I find that Takahata’s films pack such an emotional heft to their narrative that I favour something like Spirited Away.

      1. Spirited Away is not just my fave anime film but its in my Top 10 fave all time films too. I’m a bit of late starter to anime so this was the first one that really showed me a world beyond Pokemon et al.

      2. I watched Spirited Away in a cinema back in 2003 or 4 and it was magic. I watch it any time it is on television and have gone to the cinema again to see it. I own it on DVD. I love it. I love nearly every Ghibli film.

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