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Hayao miyazaki

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Hayao miyazaki

  1. 1. Hayao Miyazaki Auteur The term “auteur” is of French origin and originates in post WW2 France in which US and UK films that were previously inaccessible were arriving in France, these included films by Hitchcock, Welles etc. To become an auteur you must have an original distinct visual style and ideas that distinguish you from other directors these include having recurring themes, cast and crew as well as using certain techniques. I have chosen to discuss Hayao Miyazaki’s status as an auteur. Hayao Miyazaki is a retired Japanese director who founded and worked for Studio Ghibli and worked on films such as Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away etc. all of which have attained cult status ever since their release. Miyazaki has been directing films from 1979 until 2013. In order to distinguish whether or not Miyazaki is an auteur I have watched and made notes on three of his films those are: My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away and Ponyo and identifying recurring themes, techniques etc. that distinguish Miyazaki as an auteur, I chose these three as they have quite large age gaps with Totoro being released in 1988, Spirited Away in 2000 and Ponyo in 2009. Childhood Firstly we see childhood innocence in Ponyo with Sosuke who believes that he has become friends with a fish (Ponyo) and that she will return, much to the scepticism of his mother. In Spirited Away we see the sudden transition
  2. 2. from childhood to adulthood much to Chihiro’s discomfort and to an extent fear. Finally in My Neighbour Totoro the entire film is based around Mei and Stasuki’s child-like visions of beings like Totoro and the Cat bus that are not visible to any adult in the film. Respect for Elders By using this theme it helps Miyazaki’s film reach a younger audience as parents see this is as a good influence on their children therefore allowing them to view the film. This is arguably the most prominent theme in Miyazaki’s films. In Spirited Away Chihiro’s main aim is to return her parents to their human form and therefore return to the real world, we can also see her love as they turn into pigs with her fear and sadness at the thought of not seeing her parents but literal pigs. We also see respect for elders with Zeniba who Chihiro sees as a grandparent-like figure and helps her with her home and listens to her stories. In My Neighbour Totoro the most obvious showing of this theme is with Mei and Stasuki’s mother who is in the hospital much to the sadness of the two which resorts in tears, arguments and of course Mei “running away” to get to get closer to her mother. It is also present with the neighbour at the very beginning, who is painted in an extremely positive light by interacting with Mei and giving her pointers for adventure. Ponyo sees Sosuke share an incredibly strong bond with his mother who in turn works in a retirement home and greatly respects the elders living there, these bonds are seen throughout the entire film.
  3. 3. Responsibility/Adulthood The Miyazaki films I chose are based around the concept of a coming of age and therefore the introduction of responsibility on our protagonists. Out of my three films Spirited Away deals with this theme the most as Chihiro’s parents are no longer there to care for her meaning she has to become independent, which is the main plot of the entire film, this in turn sees her getting her first job which is rather uncomfortable for her due to the drastic change in her lifestyle. My Neighbour Totoro lightly deals with this theme with Mei and Statsuki being left to look after themselves while their father goes to work however this is more just a show of responsibility as appose to adulthood. Finally Ponyo deals with this theme in some depth when the town is flooded and Sosuke’s mother is missing. Ponyo and Sosuke must take matters into their own hands as neither of their parents are there to protect/help them however once they are reunited with their parents this responsibility somewhat disappears due to their happiness. As mentioned previously being an auteur means not only using recurring themes but similar cast and crew members for each film. One the most essential elements to Miyazaki films are their soundtracks that help make them unforgettable this is made possible
  4. 4. by Joe Hishahi who has worked on the soundtrack to every Miyazaki film, with the exception of Castle of Caligostoro.

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