Throughout the month of January, The ToonSeum is proud to present a series of film screenings celebrating the birthday of one of the world’s most accomplished artists, Hayao Miyazaki. The filmmaker turns 70 years old on January 5th.
Often called the “Walt Disney of Japan,” Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli reinvigorated the Japanese animation industry in the 1980’s and 90’s with a string of genre-defying masterpieces that would become international hits. But it wasn’t until the success of 2001’s Spirited Away that most American audiences began to discover Miyazaki’s work. Largely through the efforts of PIXAR’s John Lasseter (who lists Miyazaki as not only a huge influence but a great friend), many of Miyazaki’s films have enjoyed broad theatrical and DVD releases.
Miyazaki’s films have changed the way the world thinks about animation. Typified by wild flights of fantasy, political and ecological commentary, and meticulous and breathtakingly beautiful hand-drawn and watercolor animation, Miyazaki films often cast a spell over viewers young and old. While combining nuanced story-telling techniques and a vibrant, naturalistic mis en scene, Miyazaki’s animation often subverts the viewer’s expectations, with calm, reflective moments that give way to unpredictable twists and turns. Most notably, Miyazaki’s protagonists are often strong, confident female characters just as his villains are often complicated, sympathetic victims of circumstance.
The following films will be screened with discussion and production notes:
January 13 at 7:00pm – Castle in the Sky (Laputa) (1986). After a daring escape from sky pirates, a young girl teams up with an orphaned miner to uncover the secrets of a magical city floating in the clouds. The second of Miyazaki’s first feature length films, Laputa is full of sweeping action and vibrant characters.
January 22 at 3:00pm – My Neighbor Totoro (1988). Miyazaki’s pastoral masterpiece is a story of two young girls coping with their mother’s illness and resultant move to rural Japan. There they encounter a Totoro, a gentle forest spirit that guides and protects them through the turbulent time. Totoro is the antithesis of American children’s movies: quiet, observant, and humane. Named by the British Film Institute as one of the Greatest Children’s Movies of All Time.
January 27 at 7:00pm – Princess Mononoke (1998) Roger Ebert called it “the Star Wars of animated film,” and he wasn’t exaggerating. The boldest and darkest of Miyazaki’s films, Mononoke is a complex Buddhist parable in which spiritual forces do battle with ragged human imperialists. Lush and provocative, Mononoke marks Miyazaki’s first foray into computer-generated imagery, accentuating several scenes with bizarre movement, though every single cel remained hand-drawn.
In addition to the screenings, the ToonSeum will conduct a poll allowing fans to vote for their favorite Miyazaki films and characters.
Films are all family-friendly, however Princess Mononoke contains adult themes and war-related violence. Admission for the screenings by donation only.
Disney and Emerald City Comicon want to send you and a friend to see Tales From Earthsea!
Advance screening on Monday, August 9th at 7pm Harvard Exit in Seattle.
For your chance to win a mobile pass good for two admissions, text “DRAGON” and your zip code to 43549 (Ex. DRAGON 98119)
NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE!
No purchase necessary. While supplies last. Texting services provided by 43KIX and are free. Standard text message rates from your wireless provider may apply. Check your plan. One entry per cell phone #. Late and/or duplicate entries will not be considered. 30 (thirty) winners will be chosen at random on or about 4pm on Friday, August 6, 2010 and will receive a text good for two admissions. THEATRE IS OVERBOOKED TO ENSURE A FULL HOUSE. A winning text does NOT guarantee a seat. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. This film is rated PG-13. Void where prohibited by law.
Tales from Earthsea opens exclusively at Harvard Exit in Seattle on August 13th!