This week's movie is starting a day late, but I hope everyone won't mind too terribly. I'm noticing that a lot of the Ghibli movies - the ones available in America on DVD - have been removed, which greatly diminishes out viewing choices. Thankfully, there's still one film available for us to watch, and it's Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro.
Totoro was made in 1988 under a double bill with Takahata's Grave of the Fireflies. This fact is often mentioned, especially since the two pictures are so unlike one another. However, if we examine more closely, we can see some similar threads between the two. It's not as cut-and-dry to simply say that Fireflies is the "the sad movie" and Totoro "the happy one." Both contain a considerable emotional range, from happiness and nostaligia to sorrow and tragedy. Both are firmly rooted in Italian Neorealism and Yasujiro Ozu.
It's interesting to note that neither Fireflies nor Totoro made a profit during its initial theatrical run. Only after Studio Ghibli agreed to license stuffed Totoros does the movie become popular. It's fame grew by word-of-mouth, and thanks to home video, is now universally accepted as Japan's most popular children's movie.
My Neighbor Totoro is available in all regions throughout the world, so I would encourage you to purchase the DVD if you haven't done so already. Like all Ghibli films, it requires to be seen on as large a screen as possible. If you haven't discovered Totoro yet, then pull of a chair, grab some popcorn, and prepare to be amazed.
NOTE: I'm afraid that the person who uploaded Totoro to YouTube has disabled embedded viewing, so that means you'll have to click the links to go directly to the YT page.
My Neighbor Totoro - Part 1
My Neighbor Totoro - Part 2
My Neighbor Totoro - Part 3
My Neighbor Totoro - Part 4
My Neighbor Totoro - Part 5
My Neighbor Totoro - Part 6
My Neighbor Totoro - Part 7
My Neighbor Totoro - Part 8
My Neighbor Totoro - Part 9