Today's Screenshots - 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother

I haven't written anything about 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother in some time, so I figured we were due for another visit with this phenomenal work. I think I've mentioned this before, and hopefully I'm not starting to sound like a broken record, but I think the real masterpieces from the Takahata/Miyazaki canon come not from Studio Ghibli, but from the World Masterpiece Theatre productions of the 1970's - Heidi Marco Anne. I've told myself that would make a great title for a book or album. Heidi Marco Anne.

I'll say this is Isao Takahata's crowning achievement, if only because of its scope and scale. Of the three WMT series, it's Marco that truly feels epic. It's the Book of Job brought to the screen.

These shots come from fairly late in the series, episode 47, "Mama Lives at the Foot of the Mountain," and episode 48, "Old Lady, Please Don't Die." True to form, the episodes are tragic and emotional, packed with the human suffering of Marco's archetypal quest for "Mother." And the quotation marks are deliberate; it's the very thing that gives 3000 Leagues its mythic quality.

Little surprise, then, that the series was immensely popular in Israel. I read once or twice that the Israeli naval anthem is based on the music from Marco. I don't know if that's true, or if someone was merely pulling my leg. But I wouldn't doubt it for a minute.

Finally, I'd like to take this opportunity to make my plea for the great artistry of traditional, hand-painted backgrounds. These masterful brushstrokes are a hallmark of its era and still cannot be achieved with computers. We must be mindful and not foolishly throw away our older tools in the name of, ahem, "progress."

1 comment:

Chris Sobieniak said...

I wish people could understand that (what 2-D animation was possible of in the hands of those that knew how to use it well).

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