Friday, July 27, 2007

Kid Kino

Every parent creates their own life-raft of kids' movies they can stand to watch over and over – for they will have to watch them over and over. And over. My own includes The Iron Giant, both Toy Story movies, and a couple of others, like The Secret of NIMH. I've also cheated a little by getting both of my kids addicted to Buster Keaton. (The General deserves all the hype that has been thrown at it, and One Week seems to exist on some thin-aired plane of pure comedy.)

All Miyazaki films falls into the life-raft category, but it's his gentler, less epic and lesser-known films that I love the most. Films like Kiki's Delivery Service and this one. Miyazaki is not only a master of utilizing child logic - for example, the notion that spirits and magic powers simply exist, even if not everyone can see them at work – but also child time, where a day can be like a season, emotionally and experientially. Those two movies unfold so gradually, they almost feel improvised – which is a feat for something animated. (According to this interview with Miyazaki, they are partly improvised.)

1 comment:

Rob in Victoria said...

I knew, without even clicking the link, that you were talking about Totoro. I tell ya, that movie's a treasure, and one of those things (like the best movies, the best books, the best music), that gets passed hand to hand, rather than imposed on us from without.

Two interesting things -
The first dvd release of Totoro made me break my OAR-only vow. And it's the version we continue to watch (though we do have the Disney release) -- the dub on the MGM version is so much better, so much more natural, as to defy comparison.

Secondly, and you probably know this -- on its initial release, Totoro was part of a double-feature with Grave of the Fireflies, showing two different sides of childhood, to emotional poles. Having watched Grave a couple of times (and it's one of the most powerful films I've ever watched), I'm tempted to reconstruct that double feature, just to see how it works, where it leaves me. I haven't done it yet, because Grave leaves me a quivering wreck...