Recently we passed on the news that Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki had completed the storyboards for his upcoming animated film Ponyo on a Cliff, and now it appears that a release date has been set.

Nausicaa.net says we can expect the film to be released in the middle of July, very likely on Saturday, July 19. Their source is Variety Japan. According to a publicist for Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki's animation studio, more information on the film will be made available after the Tokyo International Anime Fair, which will be held March 27-30.

When can we expect to see the film in the US? I haven't seen a hint so far, but Miyazaki's previous production, Howl's Moving Castle, was released in Japan in November 2004 and in the US in June 2005, while the one before that, Spirited Away, took more than a year to reach US theaters. I'd love to see this one by the end of the year.

Ponyo revolves around a boy and goldfish who wants to become a girl. A family story of a very different sort has won favor with Hong Kong critics. The Postmodern Life of My Aunt features Chow Yun-Fat as an amateur Chinese opera singer who lures the 60-something heroine into a bogus scheme involving cemetery plots. David Rooney's Variety review says that's only one of the film's narrative strains.

The Associated Press reports that he Hong Kong Film Critics Society rewarded the picture this week with three prizes: Best Film, Best Director (Ann Hui) and Best Actress (Siqin Gaowa, who plays the heroine). Other awards went to Tony Leung Ka-Fai (Best Actor, Eye in the Sky) and Wai Kai-Fai and Au Kin-Yee (Best Script, Mad Detective).