Hayao Miyazaki is one of my favourite directors: I’ve never been disappointed by any of his films and, although I understand that by creating animated films he has an advantage (since he does not share the same stylistic worries as other directors do), I find his works well-rounded. Having already seen most of his films, I don’t quite know when I’ll get the chance to re-watch and review them. So I’ve decided to write a tribute and share with you a couple of words with regard to this amazing director’s creations.
Original title: Kaze no tani no Naushika
One thousand years have passed since the Seven Days of Fire, a war that destroyed civilisation as we know it, and people fight over the remaining natural resources. Nausicaä, the Princess of the Valley of the Wind, battles another kingdom, in order to prevent its warriors from waking an army of giant mutant insects.
Miyazaki’s second full-length film signals the beginning of a series of films, in which women-warriors fight for their kingdom (e.g. Princess Mononoke). However, Nausicaä doesn’t only fight for her kingdom, but for humanity itself, since she defends every living creature and does her best to prevent war from happening. Full of peaceful and pro-environmental messages, this story might be considered as the director’s answer to one of the darkest moment’s in history, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945…
Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)
Original title: Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta
A young girl, Sheeta, falls from the sky on earth and meets a boy, Pazu, who wants to built an aircraft and discover the mythical city of Laputa which, according to legend, hovers somewhere in the sky. Many will try to hamper and harm them, during their incredible journey.
Inspired by Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels”, Laputa’s Castle is one of these films where the destination matters as much as the journey itself. The world in which this story unfolds is but a blend of tradition and inconceivable technology. Once again Miyazaki subtly brings up important social issues, such as the UK miners’ strike of 1984-1985.
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Original title: Tonari no Totoro
Two little sisters, Satsuki and Mei, move with their father into a new country house, so that they’re closer to the hospital where their mother is treated. Quite a few mystery creatures (such as the one pictured above) live in their new house and an incredible adventure awaits them.
If I were forced to choose just a single animation for my list of my ten favourite films of all times, that would be “My neighbour Totoro”. Hands down, this is the most adorable film I have ever seen. It has a fairytale-like feeling and lets the viewer with the sweetest impressions.
Kiki’s delivery service (1989)
Original title: Majo no takkyûbin
A thirteen-year-old witch takes up residence from her home-town to another small town, along with her black talking cat, Jiji. Under these new circumstances, she has to find a survival strategy, deploying her flying skills.
Kiki’s delivery service is a lot more than a simple animation: this film portrays the journey to adulthood. Kiki’s magical powers do not solve her problems a priori and the little witch has to find a way to make good use of them in order to become independent. With her witty cat by her side, everything is possible!
Porco Rosso (1992)
Original title: Kurenai no buta
An Italian veteran of WWI works as a bounty hunter chasing skyjackers in the Adriatic Sea. Because of a strange curse, he has been transformed to a pig!
Although this film is set during WWI, its time of production and some of the locations mentioned in it tell us another story. The Break-up of Yugoslavia and the Siege of Dubrovnik definitely affected Miyazaki.
Have you seen or would you like to see any of the aforementioned films?