Director: Mami Sunada
Original Release: 2013
Choice: My Wife's
My Overall Rating: 5 stars out of 5
|via That Movie Guy
I'm a sucker for any exploration of the creative process, especially when I already have tremendous admiration for the creators and their work. It's wonderful watching hand sketches come to life. Miyazaki, not surprisingly, is an eccentric and enigmatic character. He reveals his story generating process to be decidedly non-linear, with little regard for narrative coherence. He says that underlings have confessed to him that they don't entirely understand his stories and admits that he himself isn't quite sure what Spirited Away is about - rather shocking considering that it's easily his most critically revered film.
One expects a certain level of deifying from those who work for and with Miyazaki. While everyone in the movie obviously respects and admires him, there is also evident fear. We never hear reports of outright cruelty but he's clearly a demanding boss. One animator says that most people don't stay with the studio long - even the most talented find the old man hard to take after a while. The camera's perspective, though, is more forgiving. It's hard not to like Miyazaki. But then again, I don't have to work for him.
The film provides a deeply loving view of the Ghibli movies and, tangentially, the city of Tokyo itself. Both the city and the country are near and dear to my heart so I'm grateful for the brief visit. It's not a particularly kid-friendly documentary. My daughter's patience was tested by the end. But it was lovely for My Wife and me.