Jan 24, 2006

a remarkable day


Through a looking glass. A Miyazaki study of the title character from "Kiki's Delivery Service"

Today's Pixar-Disney news had me thinking of a long-ago evening...

CalArts, 1988: Glen Keane brought a clip of some film by a Japanese filmmaker few of us had ever heard of(anime wasn't big at CalArts), Miyazaki. My Neighbor Totoro.
It wasn't subtitled but the scene didn't need it: two girls waited by a forest bus stop for their father. It begins to rain. Suddenly, an enormous, bizarre, furry creature wearing a plant on his head is standing next to the girls, also, presumably, waiting for a bus. The first bus arrives--a cat-bus. The creature gets in, and gives the girls a present.

It was absolutely magical(hackneyed word, but perfect description). The impact of that short scene was palpable. Everyone--as far as I remember--was awed. Glen explained that they'd screened the film at Disney the week before and that it had profoundly impressed him. He next showed us a drawing he'd made after seeing the film: two lumberjacks in a forest, building houses. One man stands proudly next to his log cabin, assembled from his just-cut trees. The other guy has also cut a clearing; with his logs he's built a fairy-tale palace. With the same materials, how much more could be gotten?

To my friends in both places--this will be an exciting time for you(understatement of the year). I wish you all lots and lots of palaces--and a heck of a lot of fun building them.

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5 comments:

J said...

Thats actually one of my favorite sequences in animation ever. Beautifully staged and paced and wonderfully whimsical. Hayao at his finest.

Jenny said...

It is a fantastic scene. Talk about the perfect thing to show to get anyone hooked on Miyazaki. You know we were all mad to see the rest of the film after that peek. And it doesn't fade one whit after all this time.

Michael Sporn said...

The scene is one of the most stunning in animation and your use of it in the the story and the Lasseter drawing is absolutely apropos the situation at Disney/Pixar (or whatever they'll call themselves). The animation industry is obviously in flux.

Dona Esfregona said...

Hello.
Miyazaki is also the director of "Spirited Away", "Princess Mononoke" and of a great animation series called "Future Boy Conan" (1978). All of them are great pieces of animation. My favourite animation director. You must see his movies. Here in Portugal, "My neighbor Totoro" didn't pass through our cinemas. It's a shame.

Yaxin said...

Welcome to the club of Ghibli's lovers, here in france and spain we are charmed by Miyazaki and takahata's films and tvseries since more than 30 years...I remember serious studying on "making-of" about Heidi, Conan, Marco or flanders dog in the Academie of fine arts in Bruxelles back in 85-86 :)))
and when "totoro" and "only yesterday" were released in europe end of 80s, those movies became the best animated movie ever for us... I'm so glad that the same it's happening in america at the moment.
:))