Hayao Miyazaki may be making his swan song with “The Boy and the Heron.”

Miyazaki’s first film in 10 years follows a young boy who comes of age while living with his uncle after the death of his father. The animated feature takes place against the backdrop of World War II and charts the experiences of the grief-stricken teenager who uncovers a hidden world. Check out the teaser below.

“The Boy and the Heron,” released as “How Do You Live?” in Japan, will be distributed in North America later this year by GKIDS.

The description of the film reads as follows:

A young boy named Mahito

yearning for his mother

ventures into a world shared by the living and the dead.

There, death comes to an end,

and life finds a new beginning.

A semi-autobiographical fantasy

about life, death, and creation,

in tribute to friendship,

from the mind of Hayao Miyazaki.

Miyazaki is the co-founder of animation house Studio Ghibli. “The Boy and the Heron” is written and directed by Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki. The film is an original story inspired by Yoshino Genzaburo’s 1937 story; writer-director Miyazaki dedicated the film to his own grandson.

“The Boy and the Heron” made waves with an unprecedented marketing move by Studio Ghibli, which did not release any images, a trailer, advertisements, or a synopsis of the hand-drawn animated feature ahead of its July 14 premiere in Japan. A teaser trailer for the U.S. premiere has just been shared. As with previous Studio Ghibli titles, the film will be released in its original Japanese with English subtitles, as well as a new English language version.

The film will make its North American premiere at 2023 TIFF with the Opening Night selection, and will screen at NYFF.

TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey previously traveled to Tokyo to screen the movie, and exclusively told IndieWire that “The Boy and the Heron” is a triumph for Miyazaki, who returned from retirement to direct.

“If this has to be his final statement on screen, I think it’s a perfect one,” Bailey said. “It’s very much an adult vision of life, very much about loss and how we deal with that. It just felt like this is a movie from a master filmmaker.”

He added, “This one goes deeper and darker than Miyazaki has before in terms of the journey the main character is on. The images are just dazzling, almost hallucinogenic.”

“The Boy and the Heron” will premiere in select theaters November 22, followed by a nationwide rollout December 8 (including IMAX). Check out the teaser below.

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