Hayao Miyazaki has brought joy to people all over the world with his movies, like Castle in the Sky, Princess Mononoke, and Howl’s Moving Castle.
But he’s retiring, and his studio is shutting down. So now’s the time to read a bit more – including some surprising truths about Miyazaki – here in The Curator:
Through their triumphs, Miyazaki’s heroes are liberated. They soar—literally. All but two of his ten written and directed films feature an extended scene in which our heroes take flight, weave through the clouds, and ride the wind across a lush acrylic sky. One feels free when watching his films.
But Miyazaki himself is weighed down, overburdened and in despair. That’s the principal lesson of Turning Point: 1997-2008, a collection of translated interviews, public statements, essays, and panels on which Miyazaki sat, compiled from the years he directed Princess Mononoke,Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle. The book offers “lessons” rather than “themes,” because there is a distinct lack of about-ness to it. Miyazaki’s public voice, chronologically ordered, roams to and fro and very far from his films. Even at events convened to explore them, he moves quickly to other subjects, often timely matters of public concern, and those subjects slide to talk of Japan’s cultural troubles. Eleven years of free-roaming conversation will reveal the bent of a man’s thoughts; the conversations collected in Turning Point capture Miyazaki deflecting talk of his films and hurrying to speak of Japan’s imminent demise.