Movie Night - Anne of Green Gables, Ep. 3

(Update: This video has since been removed from Youtube.  Sorry.)

I've been recovering from a week-long bout with illness, so I'll make sure to check back in with a couple posts before I pass out for another 12 hours. Here's episode 3 of Anne of Green Gables. This is another magnificent episode, one of my favorites of the entire series.

This episode features one of the most iconic sequences in Anne, possibly THE most iconic of all. It's a very simple scene, quietly poetic - Anne looking out her bedroom window and dreaming. We are treated to a series of landscape shots, some Ozu-esque pillow shots, and that remarkable transformation, as we peer into the girl's imagination, and the walls melt into trees and grass. That shot is arguably the defining shot of Anne of Green Gables.

I should also mention another essential quality to this show, and that's the music. I cannot imagine Anne without the wonderful orchestral score. Especially the music for the daydream scene; that's probably the best piece of music in the series, and certainly the most transcendent.

Again we have ample opportunity to observe the masterful pacing, the brilliant compositions, and the overall excellent direction by Takahata. His natural, neo-realist style, honed to perfection on Heidi and 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother, is absolutely essential to bringing Green Gables to life. It's this focus on daily activity, set at the pace and tempo of 19th Century life, that allows you to fully immerse yourself in its world.

As with the earlier WMT series, all the locations are closely modeled after the real landscapes from Prince Edward Island. The Green Gables house is actually based on the "real" Green Gables house, that serves as an international museum to Maude Montgomery's characters. This obsessive attention to details has always been a hallmark of Japanese animation, particularly among filmmakers like Takahata and Miyazaki. I think that's one of the things that most strongly draws me to their work. Theirs is an artists' medium. Commercialism is a very distant second.

In America....well, you can see the wreckage for yourself.

1 comment:

Chris Sobieniak said...

I think I love the use of the pauses and periods of silence this episode gives. That bit with Anne being told she could go play, only to leave her too upset to even go outside just floored me (didn't expect the ad break either). A real director wouldn't give me that!

It reminded me of something Brad Bird once talked about the timing of most films you see nowadays, and how often the producers/filmakers tend to feel their audiences could turn out of what they're doing very quickly, so they have to constantly through in a loud sound effect or another cut every other second in order to break up the momentum. They do not take their time to savor those moments and to let them play out the way they should.

I only hope I don't even catch that PBS Anne of Green Gables you've warned about (as I know I won't get that kind of attention to detail nailed down the way Takahata can deliver).

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