Friday, July 04, 2014

Some News About International Animation

FROZEN from Walt Disney Studios
The movie-going public in the USA fell in love with this
animated feature like hardly any other, "Frozen" (2013). It not only won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, but almost anyone who is a child or has a child in the family knows the featured song by memory, almost if not totally. It received the Oscar for Best Song, same as the title. It was written by the husband-and-wife songwriting team of Robert and Kristen Lopez, who wrote all the songs for the movie.

There is no doubt in the minds of the American movie-going public that the U.S. leads the animation parade in quality, but there is high quality animation in other countries as well. Unfortunately, the language barrier is keeping those quality works from being distributed in English-speaking countries. There is no law against it. Americans, in general, do not like to read subtitles and any motion picture requiring them for the movie-going public immediatly raises a red flag for U.S. distributors. It is more profitable to saturate America with animation from Disney or Pixar and rake in the quick dough. Both are a sure bet.

Here's the trailer for "The Tale of Princess Kaguya" ('Kaguya-hime no Monogatari', 2013), the latest from Isao Takahata, also director of "Grave of the Fireflies" ('Hotaru no Haka', 1988). Language is not a problem with most of the products coming from Studio Ghibli. One can enjoy them by simply viewing them as a silent movie while enjoying a music soundtrack.

Interestingly, the films from the two founders of the legendary animation Studio Ghibli premiered in 2013 and 14. This one by Takahata and the other from the "master," Hayao Miyazaki , "The Wind Rises" ('Kaze Tachinu', 2013). Miyazaki announced it was his farewell as a director of animation. Takahata's last film before "The Tale of Princess Kaguya," was "My Neighbors the Yamadas, 1999) but he seems not to have any intention of retiring officially.
The script, for "The Tale of Princess Kaguya," which Takahata did not write, is  based on an anonymous ninth-century folk tale with the title "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter." It is the story of an elderly farming couple, who find a tiny newborn baby girl inside a bamboo plant, and decide to adopt her as their daughter. She grows more quickly than normal and many men desire her, even the emperor.

Hayao Miyazaki

 A Few Words About Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, the other founder of Studio Ghibli.This is what I wrote before I had a chance to see "The Wind Rises". I did see it and loved it as I have all of his other works: 

 The Wind Rises
"The Wind Rises," Official Trailer. A look at the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japanese fighter planes, called Zeros, during World War II. Popular song in USA was, "Johnny Got A Zero". This movie written and Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and he wrote it is his last motion picture.


Ale Abreu’s "The Boy and the World" (O menino e o mundo),  premièred at the Rio Film Festival, Brazil 2014, in the New Trends category. In June, "The Boy and the World" took the top prizes at the most recent prestigious international 38th Annecy International Animated Film Festival. The Brazilian feature, for which Ale Abreu drew all the frames, earned the top honors from both the jury and the audience. The film won both the festival’s Cristal Award as well as the audience award for favorite film during the 38th festival. This is the second year in a row that a Brazilian feature has won the top prize. In 2013 the Cristal Award went to Luiz Bolognesie’s "A Story of Love and Fury" ("Uma história de amor e fúria"). Sorry, no trailer available for "The Boy and the World" or "A Story of Love and Fury."