Thursday, January 20, 2005

Hayao Miyazaki

There's a great article in the New Yorker (17-jan-2005) about Miyazaki. I have watched Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service many times, and I am happy to watch them any time. I think these are the best movies for young children ever made. I didn't like Spirited Away so much, but I have only seen it once. Some extracts from the New Yorker article: In a 1993 televised discussion between Miyazaki and Akira Kurosawa, Kurosawa mentioned how much he admired the sweetly surreal cat bus (in Totoro). Toshio Suzuki: "When silents moved to talkies, Chaplin held out the longest. When black-and-white went to color, Kurosawa held out the longest. Miyazaki feels he should be the longest when it comes to computer animation" Miyazaki: "I like Ireland, though, the countryside there. Dublin has too many yuppies, computer types, but I like the countryside, becasue it's poorer than England" John Lasseter says that when the animators at Pixar get stuck on a project they watch a Miyazaki film.

For the in-house theatre, which shows short films that he makes especially for the museum (including a sequel to “My Neighbor Totoro”), he hired an acoustic designer to create an uncommonly gentle sound system. Miyazaki wanted the opposite of the “tendency in recent Hollywood films,” which is “to use heavy bass to try to pull the audience into the film.” He thinks that movie theatres can be claustrophobic, even overwhelming places for young children, so he wanted his theatre to have windows that let in some natural light, bench-style seats that a child can’t sink into, and films that make them “sigh in relaxation.” Miyazaki fondly remembered the days when cigarette smoke in a theatre could draw your attention to the beam of light stretching from the projector, so he placed the pro­jector in a glass booth that protrudes into the seating area. “I want to show children that moving images are enjoyed by having huge reels revolving, an electric light shin­ing on the film, and a lot of complicated things being done,” he explains in the mu­seum’s catalogue. Colleagues told him that projecting the films digitally would help preserve them, but Miyazaki relished the idea that, eventually, viewers might see “worn film with ‘falling-rain’ scratches on the screen.

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