Monday, August 24, 2009

Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea

  The other day, I saw an article in The New York Times and TIME magazine that say "Ponyo on the cliff by the sea" would be released in about 1,000 theaters in the United States on August 14. "Ponyo" is a Japanese animation movie written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Japan's master in that field, Academy Award winner for his last work, "Spirited Away," in 2001. I looked for a theater at which the movie is being shown by the Internet, I found. My wife and daughter once or twice watched that movie in the original Japanese version, but I haven't. It is one of my daughter's most favorite movie, therefore, I took her to a nearby theater yesterday.

  The show time we watched started 6:50 p.m. Many of the audience came with family. According to the August 24 issue of TIME magazine, Miyazaki made a movie in 2-D, hand-drawn animation and created a frame-by-frame storyboard -- 180,000 drawings for Ponyo with minimal help from PC. Asian viewers may recall the devastation wreaked by the December 2004 Indian Ocean disaster, but Miyazaki's intention is different. "Rather than the tsunami destroying the town," Miyazaki says, "I took it as her own sense of life overflowing, and that helped to revitalize the town. None of the buildings were destroyed in the flood. You can see them all beneath the water. That's magic." ("TIME" Aug. 24th, 2009 issue)

  My impression on the movie is the pictures shown on the screen were terrific and they are just the nature of Japan as it is. I have never returned to Japan during two years and three month while staying here, I missed Japan very much. Of course, I am grateful for our life here; we can learn and experience various kinds of new things and savor beautiful nature. However, my thought on my home country is very special. One of the things that impressed me most is there is no "evil" in the movie. That is why I think it appropriate to have show it to children. My daughter has concentrated on the movie for one hour and forty minutes.

  Coming back home, while talking with my wife about the movie, I realized that there are many lines that only the English version has but the Japanese one doesn't. According to a Japanese site for the movie, Miyazaki seems to cut as many lines as possible so that the theater audience themselves think about hidden messages. However, it is possible only in Japanese because "silence" is highly valued in the Japanese culture. If you want the movie seen in a country of western culture, in which to express themselves is valued, you have to make adjustments in many ways.

  As a whole, the movie made me feel very comfortable and reminded me a Japanese sense toward nature. I hope my daughters' friends watch it.

  You can see the movie's trailer by clicking the following addresses: one) one)

 Tetsuya Abe

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