Saturday, April 16, 2011

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO (Japanese) (1988)

I’m not going to make movies that tell children, “You should despair and run away." - Hayao Miyazaki

What a beloved and beautiful animation film! Visually as enchanting as canvas full of resplendent water colors and so child centric in its detailing and expressions that invokes the emotions of innocence, curiosity, adventure and joy not only to kids but to elder audience too. The characters are so cute and so lifelike that they compel you love them the moments you see them on screen walking, running and expressing themselves with their big eyes and mouth. There’s no negative character, situation or a scene in the entire film, no villains and no preaching moral and yet every character immaterial of his short or long screen presence seem so lovable.

The film has two cute little sisters- 10 years old Satsuki and her mischievous and sweet 4 years little sister Mei arrived with their dear father to their new home around the forest. They’re exploring their new home which is may be haunted with tiny black creatures or may be a part of kids’ imagination. Exploring the neighborhood forest, both of the sisters witness a surprising giant creature. They named it Totoro who keeps giving them surprise appearances either in rain or in their dreams. Is Totoro real or just a figment of their imaginary fantasy world? Well, visionary writer-director Hayao Miyazaki kept Totoro a mystery and it remained best and dearest this way only.

As I grow watching more and more Japanese cinema, I must say that the country has produced many Masters encompassing many different genres. I’ve seen ‘Grave of Fireflies’, moving and one of the greatest animation film, released the same year with this light hearted film. It’s my first Hayao Miyazaki movie, the man known as ‘Japanese Walt Disney’ and after watching this one, I’m so desperate to watch all other Miyazaki masterpieces. Apart of many of his skills, I just loved the way he portrayed his characters in all its minute shades of childhood innocence, adventure and joy. We know that they’re mere cartoons and still they make us emotionally vulnerable watching them. There’re many scenes which I loved to watch repeatedly like- Mei’s first encounter with Totoro and having a carefree nap on tummy, Totoro’s play with umbrella, that wonderful Cat Bus and girls’ fantasy journey to witness their ill mom in hospital and absolutely fine background score along with those two wonderful songs in the beginning and ending titles.

One of the dearest animation film of all-time J


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