Sunday, June 27, 2010

Whisper of the Heart

I'm on a mission to watch and review all 19 movies from Studio Ghibli. This weekend I watched 'Whisper of the Heart', their 10th movie.

This is probably the SG movie with the least actual magic in it; the animals don't talk (but they do ride trains!). But it is a really nice coming of age or first love story about a school girl called Shizuki. The theme song of the movie is John Denver's "Country Roads", which Shizuki translates into Japanese for a school project, and also writes her own lyrics for based on her own life in a Tokyo suburb.

A sad fact about the movie I found on the wikipedia page, linked below, is that the director of this movie died just a few years later from an aneurism. He was expected to be a successor to the directors Miyazaki and Takahata.

Like most of the other movies the children are the main characters of the story, and are left to roam the streets of a Tokyo suburb late at night. The parents expect the kids to take care of themselves and also make the dinner and do a lot of house work; I hope my son takes notes on how lucky he is!

One thing that struck me about this movie is how beautiful and detailed the interiors are; for example this scene in Shizuki's kitchen.

The city scenes are also incredibly rich, with subtle details bringing everything to life. The animation of cars, trains and especially the bike riding of Shizuki's friend Seiji is extremely convincing.

Whilst there is no actual magic in this movie, there are some really beautiful moments. It's not just a story of high school sweet hearts; it's about ambition, artistic endeavour and whether to risk it all for your dreams or take the safer path.


musha68k said...

I just found your review via twitter because I did a real time search after just re-watching this masterpiece with my girlfriend. You are spot on, this movie is beautiful in so many ways. I especially appreciate how the creator/s seemingly haven't let themselves lose their youthful enthusiasm. There is so much beauty in apparently "naive" love for something. Too many people let themselves be robbed of that by the constant (and easily) built up everyday cynicism. Astonishingly helpful hints not only for artists but for every "creator" are to be found in this one!

BEADLE said...

Justin ! This is one of our favorites too. A beautiful story. Make sure you don't watch any of these films dubbed. Stick to the subtitled versions :)

your pal,

Justin said...

Beadle! Yeah it has to be subtitled all the way, even though it's harder for Jamie to follow. We sometimes pause it for him to catch up :)

Justin said...

@musha68k twitter is surprisingly awesome at connecting people with similar interests