Grief is all around us. Even at the heart of the brightly coloured, vividly characterised, joyful films of Studio Ghibli, they are wracked with loss – of innocence and love, of the world itself and our connection to it. Whether facing the realities of death, the small and continual losses we encounter through our daily lives, or the anticipatory grief of the environment’s ongoing decline, each has a distinct presence in these beloved films, with their own lesson to hold close in our lives, and comfort to be found.
Now Go enters the emotional waters to interrogate not only how Studio Ghibli navigates grief, but how that informs our own understanding of its manifold faces. Touching on some of the cornerstone films and characters — from My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away and beyond — and their intersections with his own life, the broader spectrum of loss, and how we can move forward, Smith invites us to consider how these beacons of joy offer us a winking light in the darkness.