Photos - The Tale of Princess Kaguya







Photos of Isao Takahata's The Tale of Princess Kaguya, showcasing its wonderful impressionist and expressionist watercolor art style. As someone who has worked in watercolors, I'm greatly impressed at seeing this painterly design on the big screen. What happened to animation diversity in the West? Why aren't we creating something like this? Wouldn't you love to see Pixar make a hand-drawn feature film that looked like this? Of course, you would.

This may sound paradoxical to most Western animators, but I think Takahata's unique perspective - he was never trained as an animator - allows him the freedom to experiment with form. He doesn't have to stick to a singular drawing technique, but can move freely between realism and surrealism, impressionist landscapes and expressionist character movements. He can contrast the outer world of forest, trees and cities with the inner world of minds and repressed emotions. This variety is essential for his depiction of psychological realism in animation. How do you show a person's inner soul when using drawings, and not actors? This is the challenge that awaits all painters and illustrators.

Kazuo Oga, Studio Ghibli's master landscape painter, served as Art Director for Princess Kaguya. His brilliance with pencil and paintbrush are on full display. I'm a great fan of the watercolor look pioneered by My Neighbors the Yamadas, and Ghibli short films like Dore Dore no Uta and Ghiblies Episode 2. This is an art style that reaches back to ancient Japan, drawing on the vast cultural tradition of scroll paintings (Takahata wrote a book on "12th Century Manga" a decade ago). Quite impressive.

2 comments:

echoBlaster said...

Man, I can't wait to see this film!

Incidently, I just read an interesting interview with Obayashi Nobuhiko, who is most famous for directing the awesome and psychedelic movie House (1977). He is a good friend of Miyazaki and Takahata and

briefly talks about the two directors when he is asked what he thought of The Wind Rises. I really liked his answers, which mentions how the two films were a sort of reaction to the 2011 earthquake and

tsunami:

"Well, I know Miyazaki-san and Takahata-san (director of The Tale of Princess Kaguya) and The Wind Rises is the first of his films that I really want to watch but I haven't seen it yet. I'm really

good friends with Takahata and he told me both of these films were very influenced by the events of March 11th. Without this event these films wouldn't have been made. Princess Kaguya would have been a much

shallower, more commercial film but it's got a lot of substance in it now. To them it's a very personal film, because of that Ghibli could possibly have gone broke but that was ok with them!"

"When I was a child people said that art would only truly be appreciated 100 years after its release, not at the time the artist creates it. Commercialism dictates that something has to be made to make an

immediate profit, but just like Takahata and Miyazaki feel right now, post 3/11, they have to live as artists. What they make doesn't have to be appreciated right now and doesn't need to be understood right

now. We are creating art that people in 100 years can appreciate, so even if we don't make a hit that's ok. Of course we are capable of making billions and billions of dollars if we follow the rules but that's

not what we are thinking right now. It's not a success, it's a message how we feel as artists."

http://twitchfilm.com/2014/03/yubari-2014-exclusive-interview-house-director-obayashi-nobuhiko-talks-seven-weeks-and-the-art-of-ci.html

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Thanks for sharing that link. I'll definitely grab it and share on the website. Always great to hear from fellow Takahata fans.

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