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Hayao Miyazaki – a parallel universe

Hayao Miyazaki – a parallel universe

written by Souranath Banerjee

Generations of kids from around the world are fascinated and enchanted by the ever-popular Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and my-neighbor-totoro-postertheir adorable friends, but I doubt how many youngsters have heard about ‘Porco Rosso‘ ‘Chihiro‘ or ‘Totoro‘!

Have you by any chance met the intelligent ‘Laputian Robots’, or the eerie spirit ‘No Face‘ whose face is literally missing? Have you ever taken a ride in a ‘CatBus‘ or seen the Goldfish Princess ‘Ponyo‘?

Well, there is a whole parallel universe of mesmerizing animation waiting to be explored (if not explored already); the imaginative world of a genius named Hayao Miyazaki.

John Lasseter, the director of Toy StoryA Bug’s Life and Cars, and probably the most successful animator/director/producer in Hollywood says about Miyazaki:

‘I love his films. I study his films. I watch his films when I’m looking for inspiration.’

Hayao Miyazaki won two Academy awards (nominated thrice), one for best animated feature Spirited Away and the other, the Honorary Academy Award for his impact on animation and cinema (the second Japanese filmmaker to get this award after Akira Kurosawa in 1990).

The co-founder of the famous Japanese production house Studio Ghibli (along with master director Isao Takahata), Mr. Miyazaki have the unique ability to tell his stories, though mostly from a children’s perspective but often loaded with hidden messages or allegories to feed the matured minds as well.

Trailer of his film My Neighbor Totoro (1988).

Thus, in a career that spanned for over five decades, his films though always having a fairytale quality are appreciated by all (regardless of their age), through out the world.

In 1997 a film called Princess Mononoke gave Hayao Miyazaki the fame he so rightly deserved. Not only did the film broke all Japanese box office records but since it was distributed by Disney across the world, Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli became instantly recognized in the global animation market.

And then came his most commercially and critically successful film Spirited Away that also won him an Oscar!

There was also Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) and Ponyo (2008) which only confirmed his supremacy as a legendary animation director.

But Mr. Miyazaki with his classic approach towards animation (he The-Wind-Rises-posterstill prefers hand-drawing each frame rather than digitizing) is still media shy and prefers to work peacefully from his own place.

According to him ‘We should possess the wisdom to live in our corner of the world in peace.’

With his last film The Wind Rises (2013) he has officially announced his retirement. He intends to work on the Studio Ghibli Museum, on which he jokingly comments ‘I might even become an exhibit myself’.

Compared with the creative brilliance of Walter Elias Disney (Walt Disney), Hayao Miyazaki is undoubtedly the best animator/director and the greatest Japanese filmmaker of today.

And on this day, Jan 5, his 75th Birthday – let’s wish him health, happiness and a request for a few more magical films (please).

Also do check out the documentary made on Mr. Miyazaki and his studio The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (2013), directed by Mami Sunada.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.compin.anime.comwww.japantimes.co.jp.

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