Re: Non-mainstream animated film sources?

Gilles Poitras (gilles@exploratorium.edu)
Wed, 6 Mar 2002 09:21:57 -0800 (PST)

At 7:51 AM -0800 3/6/02, EFclicks@aol.com wrote:
>We're putting on a community event with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and our
>local film society for kids (ages 7 or 8 and up) and adults.

Some Japanese titles may work for you.

Here are some of the titles in my recommended list:
http://www.koyagi.com/recommended.html

There are other titles on the list that you may find interesting.

Features:

1. Catnapped
A delightful children's anime about the adventures of Toriyasu and his
little sister in the strange land of Banipal Witt. It seems that the cats
of Banipal Witt have a problem on their hands, a dog, and need the
assistance of Toriyasu in taming this big beast which also happens to be
his dog. Written and Directed by Nakamura Takashi, director of Akira.

2. Grave of The Fireflies
Based on an autobiographical novel by Nosaka Akiyuki. Animated by the
internationally acclaimed Studio Ghibli and directed by Takahata Isao. This
is the tragic story of two children orphaned when their mother dies in the
firebombing of Kobe near the end of World War II.
Cultural Details: Locations, household items, wartime conditions.
Very serious and tragic.

Features directed by Hayao Miyazaki:

3. Castle of Cagliostro
The Castle of Cagliostro is one of the most popular anime directed by
Miyazaki before he went on to found the famous Studio Ghibli. The quality
of this anime is so good it is hard to believe this is a title from 1979.
The script was coauthored by Miyazaki and Yamazaki Haruya. Miyazaki also
did the storyboards. And his touch shows with his trademark beautiful
cloudscapes and flight sequences.
While not for small kids they seem to enjoy the slapstick humor of this title.

4. Kiki's Delivery Service
Kiki is a young witch, according to tradition she must leave home at the
age of thirteen, find a town with no witch and become independent. She
doesn't have many skills but her cat Jiji at least can help by offering
advice. This is a tale of maturation set in a fictional European style
setting with some very stunning animation.

5. My Neighbor Totoro - a must!!!
A tale of two young girls who move to a country house with their father in
the 1950s. Released in the United States by Fox, the license for this title
will soon expire and the distribution rights transfer to Disney at which
point it may be unavailable for some time. This is highly popular with
parents and children.
Cultural Details: Household details, country life.
Kurosawa considered this one of the 100 best movies ever made.

6. Princess Mononoke
Miyazaki Hayao's most lavish work available in English. Also one of the
most expensive and commercially successful feature Japanese films in
history. This is the story of a young man cursed by a boar 'god' gone mad.
He travels to find the source of the madness in the hope of locating a cure
before he dies.

Cultural Details: Life in pre-Edo Period Japan, includes commoners, samurai
and religious beliefs.

Cautions: This was not done for children as it is a complex story and has a
certain amount of combat and death in it, but Miyazaki came to the
conclusion that children are perceptive enough to be able to enjoy it.

TV series

7. Nadia
The story is loosely based on Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,
perhaps inspired by would be a better term. Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water
is a rich and well crafted work about a young inventor, Jean, who meets a
young dark skinned circus performer, Nadia, and helps her escape from a
woman with two thugs who are trying to get Nadia and the gem she is wearing
around her neck.

After their dramatic escape Jean and Nadia end up setting out to find about
her past, and so the adventure begins as they are pursued by more than one
group after the gem. But I'm getting ahead of the events in the first tape.
Made for NHK, the Japanese public broadcasting system in the late 1980s.

Nadia is a long series but perhaps showing the first few episodes would work.
One problem Jean and Nadia run into is his aunt chewing him out for
bringing a 'colored girl' home, later we see the harmony of the
inrecultural and interracial crew of the Nautilus.

For an interesting comparison between Nadia and a more recent Disny feature
see:
http://www.oldcrows.net/Atlantis/

Gilles Poitras gilles@exploratorium.edu
Learning Studio, Exploratorium Museum