Hand-drawn feature-length movie-making is alive and well at Studio Ghibli in Japan. And Ragtag has a long history of showing its beautiful, magical films. The studio's newest feature, The Secret World of Arrietty, opens next week.
My first Studio Ghibli film was Princess Mononoke (1997) at the Blue Note during Ragtag's Film Society days. If I remember correctly, I was blown away by its beauty and moral complexity (for an animated feature). It was also the first time I saw a film frame burn-out. It seems there was often projector trouble in those days. It's still my favorite.
I watched Spirited Away (2001) at Ragtag's old 10th Street location.
And Howl's Moving Castle (2004) too.
Ponyo (2008) was the first Ghibli film screened at Ragtag's current location.
Studio Ghibli films that I've seen that you can rent at 9th Street Video:
Castle in the Sky (1986)
Chock-full of steampunk air pirates.
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Yes, there is a catbus...and lots of screaming.
Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
A cute film about a young witch finding her way in a new town.
Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Directed by Isao Takahata, Fireflies is probably the heaviest of the Studio Ghibli films. A brother and sister struggle to survive in wartime Japan. Both beautiful and tragic.
And if you happen to be in Austin, Alamo Drafthouse is doing a Studio Ghibli retrospective right now.