A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What I'm Watching

My Neighbor Totoro

Now 21 years old, this Miyazaki film is enduringly fresh. It is brilliantly grounded in a real human story, that of the mother in hospital and the father struggling to raise their two daughters; the school-age Satsuki and the four-year-old Mei are beautifully contrasted characters. And then Miyazaki adds on the fantasy elements without sentimentalizing or sapping the force of either the real or the fantastic. As usual, the backgrounds are impossibly gorgeous. And unlike
Kiki's Delivery Service or Howl's Moving Castle, the setting is recognizably Japanese, so there's less of an aura of Disneyfication. A small masterpiece.

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