Toshio Suzuki Speaks With George Lucas

Another reason why Peter's GhibliWorld is so valuable is because he chronicles the weekly radio broadcasts by Ghibli's Toshio Suzuki. In each show, Suzuki-san goes into detail about Ghibli's history, their influences and loves, and the backstage stories involving the master filmmakers.

For those who don't know, Mr. Suzuki is one of Ghibli's three founders, alonside Takahata and Miyazaki. He has also served as Ghibli's President for many years, recently stepping down to focus more on the creative ends of Ghibli. In many ways, it is this man who is the Svangali of Studio Ghibli. His ability to influence and direct the old masters and guide the direction of the studio is nothing less than amazing.

Anyway, the great news for this post is that George Lucas recently visited the studio when he was in Japan promoting the new Indiana Jones picture (sorry, still haven't seen it, but I still want to). He and Suzuki-san spoke at length, and Peter was dedicated and kind enough to translate and transcribe the discussion.

The conversation with George Lucas can be read here. I'll post a small excerpt here, then you can go and read the rest. There are also a few words from Kathleen Kennedy, one of the two producers for the US release of Ponyo...

Suzuki Toshio: Actually, our new film at Ghibli has no CG at all, so it’s all hand drawn. What do you think of that?

George Lucas: Well, I like hand drawn animation as well. It’s just that there are two different ways of doing something. They have their own style and look and you can do different things in each medium.

Suzuki Toshio: It seems a bit sad, because we started out in animation all hand drawn, and somewhere the computer came in and that’s sort of taking over. There is an animator called Glen Keane, I don’t know if you know him, but he is such a great artist. I would love to see some work from America which is all hand drawn.

George Lucas: I think John Lasseter is doing an hand drawn film for Disney. I think, ultimately, it is really more about the ideas, than it is about the technique you use to express those ideas.

Suzuki Toshio: Well, I actually said he should do it (laughing).

George Lucas: But it is about the story as much as anything else. The development of the characters and that sort of thing. Weither you do it hand drawn or... With the computer you can make it look as if it is hand drawn, it is just a different way of doing it. It’s really ultimately about what the story is.

Suzuki Toshio: Maybe this is an influence from Miyazaki, but I watch Disney channel a lot and see all the old animations they used to make. Everything moves maybe too much. More than they should be moving. But it creates a certain kind of atmosphere. The effect of things being handled by hand. Things that maybe should not be moving in a movie. But just watching that is very, very interesting. Not with our new film Ponyo, which is already almost complete, but for the next film maybe we’ll go for that. I hope that maybe you will also do hand drawn animation at some point.

1 comment:

Ben Allen said...

I'm really struck by how Lucas seems to think that the medium of a work, and the craft of making the work, have nothing to do with the abstract "ideas" behind the work. Ignoring craft in the production stage seems to me to be a perfect way to end up with something like Lucas's recent work: muddled at the idea level because they were just bashed together whatever way was easiest.

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