Japan Times Talks to Hayao Miyazaki

The Japan Times had a very interesting interview with Miyazaki back in December of last year, and it's one of those things I've been meaning to post here on the Ghibli Blog. Since the famed director is so reluctant to give interviews, I decided now would be the right time, in light of Ponyo's arrival in Europe and the US.

The event being covered was Miyazaki's November 20 appearance at the Foreign Correspondant's Club in Tokyo. The typically cheery-but-grumpy film director is never short for opinions.

I particularly liked this one wisecrack:

At the same time, Miyazaki does not expect his films — or any films — to find wide appreciation 30 years after their release. "That is, audiences today can no longer enjoy films that are more than 30 years old, save in a historical sense," he said.

When an elderly journalist countered with the example of the 1942 classic "Casablanca," Miyazaki was unfazed.

"The films you value can be lifelong friends, but if "Casablanca" were released now, it wouldn't be a hit," he said. "If (Yasujiro) Ozu were making his movies today, they would play in one theater."


Doug said...

I have to agree with Miyazaki, though if Casablanca were jerry-rigged with some explosions, some lurid sex scenes and perhaps the likes of Brad Pitt and Jolie it might make a little splash.

We (collective WE)are lazy and complacent viewers. We don't seek out films but we seek out popcorn experiences. We don't want to be moved we only want to forget. We're afraid to be left struggling with our own thoughts, should we have any, we want the story and plot, should there be one, jammed down our open throats. We want Jerry Bruckheimer not Terry Gilliam. Its quite pathetic.

I say keep wisecrackin' Miyazaki!

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Escapism is one of the good things about the movies. We just don't want that to be our only option. I've found that the American people are a lot smarter and open-minded than Hollywood (or anyone in authority, in fact) gives them credit for. Yes, it's true that they can be herded like sheep, and this has disastrous consequences for our world, but they're good people, and they'll do the right thing when given all the proper options.

For the movies, this means a wider acceptance for movies that don't fit the blockbuster formula. The success of Netflix demonstrates this.

As for future generations accepting the art of our time, well, it's hard to say. They might have to dig a little harder to find it, but this is only the passage of time, like waves over the beach. It washes over us all.

You don't see a great demand for ragtime piano ballads, eh?

Trust me, there are plenty enough people who want Terry Gilliam. The internet will turn everything into a Long Tail, eventually.

asuka said...

aaaah! terry gilliam must not be mentioned in the same breath as miyazaki!

Doug said...

I wish I had your optimism Daniel.

Asuka - Miyazaki, Gilliam? Are you not a fan?

asuka said...

not a fan of gilliam, i'm afraid.
i could have a proper discussion on his work, though on second thoughts maybe i'll just stick to humorous exclamations for now - i know gilliam's films are very important to many people, including some very dear friends of mine and i don't want to upset anyone.

asuka said...

not that i'm a fan of jerry bruckheimer, i should have added! ^^

asuka said...

so what miyazaki is really saying is:
"audiences these days are incapable of enjoying films made over 30 years ago that haven't previously been released."

that's a ratherlimited claim. how many of these older-than-30-years-but-not-released-at-the-time movies are there?

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