Time once again for a series of photos from Isao Takahata's Studio Ghibli masterpiece, 1991, Omohide Poro Poro. The DVD continues to be censored from the North American market, but it has become available in most regions across the world. My Japanese Region-2 copy is a prized possession in my library; the rest of you here in the States can download the fansub copy (which has slightly better subtitles).
Most of these shots come from the flashback segments of Taeko-chan's childhood. I tried to post these in chronological order, but ended up doing the exact reverse. Ah, it's just as well. The juxtoposition between the present day and childhood give the movie a non-linear feel. Its structure is not unlike Citizen Kane, a movie whose influence Takahata acknowledged in Heidi and Anne.
The third screenshot, of the family dining room inside the barn, is a direct homage to Igmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries. Bergman's film dealt with similar issues of memory the role our past plays in our present lives, and I'm sure it was a great influence to Takahata.
For Americans who demand something more from their animation - stronger roles for women, less violence and explosions, less cynical commercialism, more complex and emotionally honest storytelling - Omohide Poro Poro is the answer to their prayers. I have no doubt it could become a success and find a broad fanbase, given the proper time and exposure. But first it must be allowed to be seen at all. Disney's studio bosses must lose their squeamishness and their fear of retribution from the fundamentalist right.
I continue to insist that this is the greatest animation movie ever made. And it is your responsibility to discover that for yourself.