Charles Pillsbury III

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America’s Immature Animation

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The Mudge sent me this link on an interesting look at animation. I’m a big fan of Pixar for their adult accessible, but still kid friendly, films even if this guy doesn’t give them a lot of credit. I’m also a large Studio Ghibli fan (we agree on that), so I’m interested in a couple of the flicks he mentions here.

The art-style is wonderful, each frame a delight. Not since Belleville Rendez-Vous has an animation seemed so stylistically fresh and original.

However, what struck me most about the film is how fantastically intelligent it is. Usually, animation is not the place for social commentary: but Persepolis is a deliciously dark biopic, laden with black humour, fascinating Iranian history and challenging examinations of religious oppression and political dictatorships. And it is all tied together through an instantly accessible coming-of-age story. It is a completely engrossing narrative, and is one of the most thematically rich films I have seen recently.

That got me thinking about other recent animation milestones. Such thoughts instantly reminded me of Spirited Away, which in my opinion, remains the pinnacle of animation as art. I remember being stunned when I finished watching it for the first time, unable to fully comprehend the wealth of stunning imagery I had just witnessed. While not as socially aware as Persepolis, it is possibly even more attractive than the stark black-and-white imagery of the latest French release.

Other Studio Ghibli films – from the environmental concerns of Pom Poko to the touching humanity of Grave of the Fireflies to the very small-scale stories of Only Yesterday or Whisper of the Heart – also do something completely unique with the medium, providing experiences unlike any other.

[From karlhungus.com: Time for American animation to grow up?]

He somewhat “belittles” My Neighbor Totoro in the piece, which I think shows a lack of age on his part more than anything. There is something in Totoro that my wife doesn’t get either, so maybe it’s not age. For me there is a great underlying magic to Totoro and not just the character magic, but the sibling ties, and the wonder at life that the girls both “get” that makes this a deeper film than most give it credit for IMNSHO.

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Written by cpillsbury

May 18th, 2008 at 7:24 pm

Posted in Blog Entry, Misc

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