The fifth in a series of short clips from Miyazaki's latest cinematic work of art, Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea. The film has just made its French premier, and the fine folks at BVI France have provided these snippets to us via YouTube. I hope you have enjoyed viewing these, and please, share with friends and familes as much as you can. Let's help spawn the creation of more fine movies such as this.
This is one of my favorite scenes from these series of clips, perhaps because I am drawn to Studio Ghibli for their naturalism and realism. It shows the influence of the Italian Neorealists, the French New Wave, and great filmmakers like Jean Renoir, Akira Kurosawa, and Yasujiro Ozu. In many ways, Studio Ghibli is the continuation of the old masters. I hope the careers of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata help to spawn a new generation of movie lovers, and true film artists.
Anyway, it strikes me how this scene is so strongly rooted in daily life. The interaction between the boy and girl feels so natural. You will recognize your own children in their antics, maybe even yourselves. Miyazaki's sense of nostalgia has a way of impacting people of all ages.
Western animation is obsessed with the notion of fantasy, and showing us fantastic, imaginative realms far removed from our ordinary lives. And that can be a good thing. I enjoy good escapism as much as anyone. But there's a certain quality to Miyazaki's (and Takahata's) insistence on grounding so much in the daily lives of everyday people. This allows for a greater emotional resonance, a deeper connection.
These are not real people on the screen, of course. We only see ideas, impressions. And through the power of cloture, we become willing partners. We fill in the colors with our own memories. Can you make this same connection to - and I don't cite these movies to be critical at all - Monsters Vs. Aliens? Jerry Seinfeld's B-Movie? Over the Hedge? Robots? Shrek?
Those are all good, entertaining movies. But do you really see yourselves in those characters? Do you remember your lost childhood? Or do you just see Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy and Robin Williams? A Studio Ghibli movie is just a different kind of beast altogether. It's just a different mode of reality altogether. And I think we in the West have a lot to learn from the Japanese masters. I think we should be making movies like Ponyo.
Tbe $64,000 question is: what's stopping us? Why aren't we making movies like this? What lessons to we need to learn? What new vocabulary must we acquire?