Friday, June 17, 2005

Howl this weekend

This weekend, fate willing, I'll be taking the girls to see Howl's Moving Castle. Note that I'm going to see Miyazaki's latest before I see Batman Begins. There's a reason for that. Other than Terry Gilliam, I can't think of another filmmaker who I more look forward to seeing new material from. And I'm not someone who would be considered a hard-core anime fan.

Jaquandor over at Byzantium Shores was kind enough to point out an excellent article regarding Miyazaki in the New York Times (well, he pointed out the article existed--his link was bad, but I was able to find it on my own). One of the things that stand out for me in Miyazaki's films was touched on here:
It is not that Mr. Miyazaki's films are pessimistic, exactly; being fairy tales, they do arrive at happy endings. ("I'm not going to make movies that tell children, 'You should despair and run away,' " he said.) But the route he chooses toward happiness can be troubling, perhaps especially to an American audience that expects sentimental affirmations based on clear demarcations between good and evil. The division of the world into heroes and villains is a habit Mr. Miyazaki regards with suspicion. "The concept of portraying evil and then destroying it - I know this is considered mainstream, but I think it's rotten," he said. "This idea that whenever something evil happens someone particular can be blamed and punished for it, in life and in politics, it's hopeless."

I'm not one who goes in much for black-and-white worldviews. Polarized heroes and villains aren't something that appeal to me in fiction--be it stuff I'm writing or reading. That's probably another reason I'm so disillusioned with the political climate in this country as well. But Miyazaki know that outside of, say, a Hitler or Stalin, three-dimensional antagonists in reality and fiction alike are more complex than your standard-issue Evil Overlord. The predominant color in any person's soul is some variant shade of gray, and that richness gives a fresh vibrancy to the films of Studio Ghibli.

Now Playing: Cyndi Lauper Twelve Deadly Cyns...and Then Some

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