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Ghiblapalooza Episode 4 - My Neighbor Totoro

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24 Aug 2018 05:59 #280294 by repoman

"Thank you for all you've done for Mei. Please look after her and protect her forever."

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24 Aug 2018 12:43 - 24 Aug 2018 14:19 #280295 by ubarose
The mom has tuberculosis. The time period of My Neighbor Totoro coincides with the discovery of effective antibiotic treatment for tuberculosis. Just a few years earlier, mom probably would not have survived.

Knowing this adds another layer to the themes of fear of loss, and of hope and innocence in the movie.
Last edit: 24 Aug 2018 14:19 by ubarose.
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24 Aug 2018 18:36 #280331 by mc
I know it's for kids, and it's not complex dramatically, or thematically, but this is still one of my favourites. it doesn't over explain in the way a lot of western kids films do (and adult films for that matter). But it communicates those common kid concerns so well. I love that there is no real antagonist - the adventure is all in the kids' world. It probably helps that i have kids exactly the right age for this and we first watched it with them having made a move to the countryside. I think it's just about perfect for what it is.

Even if the catbus is weird.

Also, i think I changed my mother's perspective on Japanese animation with this one. This is a far bigger deal than it sounds.
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25 Aug 2018 04:35 #280346 by Dr. Mabuse
I watched this with my kids over 40 times, when they were the ages of the two girls. I love this movie so much and the music by Jo Hiasashi (sp?) is breahtakingly beautiful. It's been years since we watched it, but I would probably bawl throughout the entire thing. It reminds me of a time that is long gone and one I wish I had revelled in more at the time.
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26 Aug 2018 00:02 #280408 by Aarontu
I really liked this move as a kid, and I just had the pleasure of showing it to my own kids and seeing them enjoy it, too. The movie really conveys a childlike sense of wonder and conveys the story in a way that makes me feel like a kid again.
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26 Aug 2018 01:42 - 26 Aug 2018 02:26 #280410 by Frohike
The part that strikes home for me during this film is the brief blowup between Mei & Satsuki, when they’re both trying to process their fear & borderline grief in different ways, with Mei being obviously a little less aware of what’s happening. It’s a moment that directly leads into the next act of the movie, with Mei getting lost, etc. and Satsuki desperately trying to hold it all together.

This constant toggling between hope, playfulness, and total dread is such a real part of childhood when dealing with illness, grief, or parental instability & Miyazaki has an amazing capacity to remember what this feels like and a masterful ability to bring it to the screen. The pairing of these two strengths reminds me of Truffaut’s 400 Blows, and I think Miyazaki’s best work belongs in that tier of “auteur” directors.
Last edit: 26 Aug 2018 02:26 by Frohike.
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26 Aug 2018 03:20 #280413 by mc
That scene (the sibling fight) is so real. You're spot on about the grief processing - but as well because the boy is a part of it too - the older kids kind of run off, and the younger one is left behind, mostly unintentionally, but, not entirely. Which encapsulates a lot about these films. There are unresolved patches of grey everywhere.
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26 Aug 2018 12:30 #280419 by jeb
It's a wonderful film and a great example of a film that genuinely seems not made for adults. Pixar films—I love them—as do the kids, are definitely produced with adult audiences in mind. Lots of jokes and situations for the adults in there to enjoy and appreciate. But this one seems so dialed in to the childhood experience of life and change that you can't influence at your age. Though you will of course try with some ritualized acorn placements and intoned magical words.

Also great for kids with "monster" scares because Totoro is a huge monster and turns out to be pretty nice.
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26 Aug 2018 14:59 #280423 by Colorcrayons
Most Ghibli movies I own, I use for naptime/bedtime.

They have a mesmerising ASMR quality to them that I can only describe as electric Valium.

I used to get annoyed when watching them with friends and they would pass out in the middle of the film. But now I understand and appreciate this quality about the films.
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26 Aug 2018 20:11 #280427 by Sevej
There's some truth in that. My 4yo adores Ponyo, so last week when it was already 8.30PM she asked to watch it, I just let her do so (the wife complained since it'd finish past her bed time). She fell asleep 30 minutes into it.
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