Monday, August 10, 2009

Gettin' by with Miyazaki...

It feels so good to write a post again. I know you all don't come around looking for advice about what to let your kids watch. I'm the "queen of unwanted advice." I often make myself cringe. Anywho... I'm also the parent that will sit down and watch the entire movie with the kids although I should be getting stuff done. You know, like laundry, dinner... small details. Even when I'm flat out "plugging them in" to get stuff done for an hour, I check in. I really think that popping in to say, "wow.... she feels really sad about that..." makes all the difference. I may be justifying, but I think that occasionally participating seems to help them process what they see. They're too active too become addicts or zombies, so I'm not too worried.

We don't have t.v. so we check out videos from the library and this one is at our local. "My Neighbor, Totoro" is now my all-time favorite children's movie. Maybe everybody else has heard of this one since it's certainly not new, but I never had. It helped us make it through the "daddy down" days. It's just a beautiful animated film. Totoro is a big-bodied, loud voiced forest spirit; he's the grey guy underneath the crying girl above. There are many moments focused on the quiet simplicity of nature, as well as the magic of childhood, and the love of an extended community. The director is Japanese, and the story is set in post-war Japan. It is a wonderful cultural window for children.
One of the other things I loved about the film is the sibling relationship the girls have with one another, as well as the one they have with their dad. Over and over again it reminded me of my kids. I should warn you that the driving force behind the drama is that their mom is away at a hospital, but getting better. I looked it up to better understand, and the screenplay inferred that mom had T.B. and was recovering. By the end, it is pretty clear to the girls that mom is o.k. and will be coming home soon.

So... if you're on the hunt for a good children's film that introduces cultural elements which your children might not otherwise experience, as well as the animation of nature and magic, this is your film. It is so incredibly sweet. We... ahem... owe some overdue fines on this one.






5 comments:

Cheryl Arkison said...

I actually watched Barney the other day instead of making dinner - your choice is much better.

Oh, and I am with you on the advice front. I am so bad for that - but you knew it already, right?

I Love Baby Quilts! said...

I'll try it! Seems very sweet.

Kelly said...

Have you seen Azur and Asmar yet? Even more beautiful the second time around.

this little light said...

I'm going to go and order this from netflix now! Thanks for the tip. I'm the same way about the TV and what they watch. I would throw the TV out the window if my husband would let me!

I Love Baby Quilts! said...

Hey, I saw that the new Miyazaki came out in the theaters and I thought of you!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-lurio/hayao-miyazakis-ponyo-on_b_259227.html