Miyazaki on Miyazaki: A genius talks about his own paintings (Topic)

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Miyazaki on Miyazaki: A genius talks about his own paintings


Hayao Miyazaki and his works can be talked about for a very long time. Many agree that he is one of the geniuses of our time and a great director. So, for example, he is called by John Lasseter - co-founder and director of Pixar studio, responsible for the English dubbing of his paintings. The idea is that the laurels of a Japanese director are truly deserved and backed up by solid awards like Oscars and the admiration of the people who drive modern cinema and animation.

And in order not to repeat what has already been said, we invite you to look at what Miyazaki himself thinks about the paintings of Miyazaki, however paradoxical it may sound. Empire magazine came to Studio Ghibli for an interview with Miyazaki, where he held a retrospective of all of his work. In simple words, we will tell you from the words of Empire that Miyazaki talks about his work. The journalists talked to him in his office, where two notable things are a piano and a well-known wood-burning stove, into which the author threw wood during a conversation.

Lupine The 3rd Castle of Cagliostro [1979]

Although this work was created before the founding of Ghibli, it is considered Miyazaki's directorial debut. The young animator was responsible for creating a full-length film about the adventures of Lupine the Third, the grandson of the thief of the same name Arsene Lupine from the stories of Maurice Leblanc. Prior to this, a series based on the manga by Monkey Punch, who is the creator of Lupen, was released on the screens. It was in this work that the motives of European culture appeared, which later in the future will become one of the distinctive features of Hayao's works.


Miyazaki : “Actually, I wasn't very well versed in European landscapes and architecture back then. Therefore, inside the castle, I set myself a rule: always try to make the same place appear twice. If the character goes somewhere once, he will return to the same place again. As in games. So I wrote the script: "Here are two lakes, a castle, a Roman aqueduct ..." And then I thought: "Yes, now I can make a film!" And I just wanted to do my best. ”

Nausicaa Of The Valley of The Wind [1984]

Based on Miyazaki's own intricate manga [which he only finished in 1994], Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is a remarkable work set in a post-apocalyptic world where the shattered remnants of humanity share Earth with giant insectoids. This is the first work, where a strong female character was in the lead role, who will become the mainstay of his work. It was also the first of his films to have an environmental message [mercury pollution in Minamata Bay inspired him].


Unfortunately, not the best cooperation with the American distributor, who shortened the work time on the picture, and also released it with the subtitle "Warriors Of The Wind", led to the fact that this message was not so obvious in the American box office. p>

Miyazaki: “The manga was originally written when I was not working in animation. I had a lot of time for myself, so I tried to make a manga that shouldn't have been adapted. And then I had to shoot a movie, so I had big problems! There were a lot of things that I just didn't know how to do then, how to make my ideas work in animation. But I still had to do something.

Why should the main character be a woman? Well, it wouldn't look believable if the guy had that kind of power! Women feel well both the human world and nature and act as some kind of mediums. Nausicaa's strength is not that she is good at wielding a sword, but that she understands both the world of humans and the world of insects. None of the animals sense danger when approaching her; she is able to completely erase her sense of presence, existence. Men are aggressive and not only in society [laughs]. Therefore it was a woman.

Laputa: Castle In The Sky [1986]


Miyazaki's third film, and the first for Ghibli, was a steampunk adventure set in an alternative 19th century England featuring sky pirates, robots and a flying castle in the sky. Its cult significance was deeply ingrained, even though the painting was not successful. According to Miyazaki, this boils down to the fact that he chose as the hero a boy from a mining village - Pazu. After that, almost all of the director's characters were girls.

My Neighbor Totoro [1988]

This film is considered Miyazaki's masterpiece and by far his favorite work. The smiling forest spirit then became the studio's logo. A touching family tale set in the countryside of the 1950s, the young sisters Mei and Satsuki are striking for the amazing attention to detail and delicate personalities. They moved with their father to a new home to be closer to the hospital where their mother is being treated [Miyazaki's mother suffered from tuberculosis of the spine, so the plot is partly personal]. Few films capture the joyful power of children's imaginations so well.


Miyazaki: “During production, when it is very hard and the staff is suffering, there is some kind of unpleasant smell. People paint, and then everyone goes home, and we open the windows to ventilate the room. Now this scent does not disappear - this is the worst thing that I feel. I think young children are much more empathic than adults. At the same time, it is very easy to fool them with a smile [laughs] - you just need to show them your teeth and they are happy! ”.

Kiki's Delivery Service [1989]

Based on the books of Japanese writer Eiko Kadono, this is Miyazaki's first true literary adaptation, although like all other similar works, it bears little resemblance to the original. Aimed at teenage girls, the film is about a world where witchcraft exists and where young witches must leave home at the age of 13. We follow just such a witch Kiki and her cat Gigi. As with Totoro, there is no antagonist or conflict between people; Kiki's adventure is just a discovery of self-confidence.


Miyazaki: “I was inspired by the efforts of young artists to find work. It's not just a situation about making money - everyone is doing it. It's about your own life: how do you assert your individuality in this world? I think that's what worried everyone when we were filming this film. If we made the film now, everything would be different.

Kiki is looking for his place in the world. Life can develop in different ways, but Kiki loves delivering packages and interacting with people. But no one wants Kiki to start a huge delivery service and become its president. Nobody wants to see this! Maybe in China Kiki would have done something like that, and it would have caused admiration [laughs] ... but not in Japan.

Porco Rosso [1992]

If Totoro is Miyazaki's film for children and Kiki is for teenage girls, Porco Rosso is for middle-aged men [most importantly, for Miyazaki himself]. Its protagonist, Marco Pagott, is a mercenary who plows the air over the Adriatic in the 1920s. It is this film that more than any other shows Miyazaki's love of airplanes [the director's father was the founder of Miyazaki Airplane; and the name itself Ghibli comes from the brand of the Italian fighter; also the material was written before the release of the last Miyazaki's film "The Wind Rises", where his love for airplanes and their construction is elevated to its apogee - WorldOfTopics].


Miyazaki: “Japan Airlines needed a short film to be shown during their flights. At first we were not ready and when we said that we wanted to show air battles, we thought they would say no to us. But then they said, "Okay" [laughs].

Indeed, the painting is largely based on my hobby, and I wanted to do something easy to understand. But then Yugoslavia fell apart, and all these conflicts broke out in Dubrovnik, Croatia and on the islands that I love so much. Suddenly, in the real world, it became a place where the war was taking place, which affected me. So Porco Rosso became more serious [and came to the big screen - WorldOfTopics].

It was a very difficult film for me, I was so disappointed that I did something for middle-aged men, because I always told my employees to make films for children, and what did I do myself ?! In fact, the kids came to see this film and gave me the chance to shoot another. So when I started my next job, I was able to free myself from the Porco Rosso curse. ”

Princess Mononoke [1997]

Princess Mononoke was Ghibli's most expensive film and later became the largest ever film in Japanese history. Following a young warrior cursed by a demonic boar, history takes us into the confrontation between humans and the forest. Again, the film had a plot that was unsuitable for the younger Ghibli audience. The anime shows violent scenes of battle and mutation, intertwining themes of hatred and environmental concerns.


Miyazaki: “This was a huge risk, completely different from what I have done before. I had this experience, as I said, with Porco Rosso. There was a war in the former Yugoslavia, and I learned that humanity does not learn. After that, we could not recover and make some kind of film, such as Kiki's Delivery Service. It seemed to me that children are born in this world without happiness and blessing. How can we avoid this problem?

I think I'm pretty tired of the animators with this film. I knew this was going to happen, but I felt that we had to do it. And when we finished, I again realized the already familiar feeling: “What have I done ?!”. At first I thought: “This is what the children should not see!”, But in the end I realized: “No, this is what they should see on the contrary,” because the adults did not understand the lessons of history, but the children will understand. They were delighted again, and I was able to shoot the next film again! ”

Howl's Moving Castle [2004]

Despite the pain of creating the previous two films, accompanied by hints that he was going to retire, Miyazaki returned to the drawing board with his second literary adaptation, this time Diana Wynne Jones's Howl's Moving Castle. As in Mononoke, it focuses on the cursed protagonist, this time young Sophia, who has been transformed by the witch into an old woman. Like all Miyazaki films, it is replete with amazing details, but it also shows the most unusual denouement.


Miyazaki: “Diana Wynn Jones ... I was trapped by her. Her story is of great relevance to female readers, but she doesn't care how the world works. All the men in her novels are like her husband: sad and quiet. And magic without any rules ... But I didn't want to make a film that explains the rules. It's like making a video game. So I made a picture that does not explain the logic of magic!

We do not know why, but this caused a very extreme reaction: there were those who simply fell in love with the painting and those who did not understand it. It was a terrible experience. I've been so tired since Princess Mononoke. And to continue in this difficult direction, I thought, “We need to change the work. We decided to change direction and that's why we made Ponyo what it is in the future. ”

Spirited Away [2001]

Sixteen years after the founding of Ghibli, Miyazaki has finally achieved success in the West. That tore off popular love, as well as Oscar, his colorful story of a girl named Chihiro trapped in the world of spirits, demons and gods after her parents turned into pigs, pleasantly surprised the Western audience.


Halfway through, there is a sudden turn of direction, shifting the focus from Chihiro to the hungry ghost of the Faceless, and then the director dispatches the girl to save Aku instead of freeing her parents. This happened not so much because of Miyazaki's grandiose plan, but because of the need to convey the ideas that ripened in his head ...

Miyazaki: “There were girls that I knew from childhood. They were the daughters of my friend. And they were ten and twelve, and I said, "Now I am far away from them, and they turn into women." And I wondered how they would live now, and I thought of Spirited Away as a gift to these and many other girls like that.

But it was a tough movie. After I started production, the chief animator, art director and producer went on vacation with me, during which we tried to determine which direction the film was headed. I explained, “I think we can make a story like this, with an ending like this,” and then Suzuki-san [the producer] said, “It will take three hours. I don’t want to shoot a three-hour movie! ”.

Ponyo [2008]

After the triumph of the mystical story carried away by Chihiro's youkai, Miyazaki and his studio decided to return to the audience he had in 1988. So, having reworked the fairy tale about the little mermaid, he created "Ponyo Fish on the Cliff". This is also the first painting where he works in new territory. If earlier Miyazaki aspired to the sky, then this time he dived under water.

Miyazaki: “I have always dreamed of making a film about the sea, but it is really difficult to bring the waves back to life, so I have not been able to do it until now. I decided to change the animation method and thought: the sea is a living creature. Of course, it took endurance for such work. But many of the employees were enthusiastic.


I also realized that maybe we had strayed too far from our main audience that we should go back to five. But I can't go back and make a film as innocent as Totoro. So I decided to put new, more complex things into the piece. A surefire way to do something for a children's audience is to make the movie shorter.

Personally, I really like the credits. There are no titles or positions: I just put everyone who was involved in the work in alphabetical order. Thus, large investors and ordinary employees all ended up together. And we don't know where the producer is, where the director is. We even have three homeless cats that live near the studio - you will find their names in the credits too.

The Topic of Article: Miyazaki on Miyazaki: A genius talks about his own paintings.
Author: Jake Pinkman