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The possibilities of Hayao Miyazaki

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 05, 2015

From Mike Hale in the NY Times, a short appreciation of Hayao Miyazaki, among the best filmmakers of his generation.

Even at its high end, in the works of the Pixar studio or the director Henry Selick, the American children’s movie (a category that these days is pretty much congruent with the animated feature film) approaches its young viewers in a different and less rewarding way. There is always a sense of the filmmakers looking across a divide at their audience, trying with various degrees of grace or desperation to create an entertainment for them, to figure out what will keep those allegedly hyperdistracted children from losing interest.

Mr. Miyazaki cares deeply about that young audience, but you get the feeling that he doesn’t waste any time trying to guess what it wants. Like other great directors of films for and about children — Carroll Ballard (“The Black Stallion”) Steven Spielberg (“E.T.”), Alfonso Cuaron (“A Little Princess” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”) — he inhabits the child’s point of view and directly communicates her joys, her trepidations and, perhaps most important, her endless curiosity.