Here is the third in a series of clips from Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea, Miyazaki's 2008 Studio Ghibli film. It has just been released in France, and BVI France has posted these scenes on YouTube. In other words, if the men in suits have problems, take it up with them. Heh, heh.
Clip #3 continues right after clip #2, as we see five-year-old boy Sosuke revive and awaken his new friend, Ponyo the fish. Hmmm....the strangeness of that last sentence strikes out at me. I think with any other filmmaker, this premise would almost be absurd. A "fish" character with a human head seems so strange. But Miyazaki makes it work. He makes it natural, and you follow through with the rules of his increasingly surrealist worlds.
Once again, we see how animation deals with symbols and ideas, not concrete reality. How could it? Nothing in any animation is real, only drawings. The girl-who-is-a-fish is neither a real fish nor a real little girl. But the idea being presented, the ideas of youth, of innocence, this is what we connect to. Miyazaki also shows us something about growing up, about the nature of a child growing, changing daily from experience. Their world is far more fluid and dreamlike than the concrete, solid world of adulthood.
This is a crucial lesson for every animator and artist around the world. This is especially crucial here in America, because in the pursuit of "realism," Hollywood has lost touch with this poetic truth. And this is the lesson for the artists and animators: do not depict the "reality." Depict the idea behind that reality. Depict the emotions behind that reality. Within those realms lie truths.