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Guillermo del Toro praises Hayao Miyazaki at Toronto premiere of The Boy and the Heron

27th Annual Art Directors Guild Awards
Guillermo Del Toro

Guillermo del Toro heaped praise on animator Hayao Miyazaki during a surprise introduction before the Toronto International Film Festival premiere of The Boy and the Heron on Thursday.

The festival’s CEO Cameron Bailey surprised the audience at the Canadian film festival by introducing The Shape of Water director as “Miyazaki’s most passionate fan”.

Praising the Japanese writer/director, del Toro said, “Animation is film and tonight’s film goes beyond that. Animation is hard. We are privileged enough to be living in a time when Mozart is composing symphonies and when Van Gogh is painting paintings because Miyazaki-san is a master of that stature, and we are so lucky to be here.”

The Spirited Away director did not attend the film festival for the premiere, which marked the first time the Studio Ghibli animation had been shown outside of Japan.

“He has changed the medium that he started in, revolutionised it, proved over and over again that is a tremendous work of art,” del Toro continued. “Miyazaki, in my estimation, is the greatest director of animation ever, and he has made his films as full of dialogues and questions as he is… Each of his parables, because they become parables, are full of belief in humanity and full of heartache in humanity. I believe the film we will watch tonight will be no exception.”

The Boy and the Heron marks the first time that a Japanese title or an animated movie has opened the Toronto festival. The animation is the 82-year-old’s first film in 10 years and is believed to be his last.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) runs until 17 September.

– Cover Media