Turning Pictures into Films


Totoro dolls
Rachel Tan, via Flickr

Robin Basselin and Ryan Geertsma look at famous Japanese film animator Hayao Miyazaki. His films are popular among adults and children.

Transcript


Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I'm Robin Basselin.

Voice 2

And I'm Ryan Geertsma. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 3

"I am not a man who tells stories, I am a man who draws pictures."

Voice 1

The man who said these words creates some of most popular films in Japan. When people talk about Japanese animation, his name is always part of the discussion. Today's Spotlight is on Hayao Miyazaki.

Voice 2

Hayao Miyazaki is an animator. He creates images that tell a story. Animation images can be drawn by hand or created using a computer. When the images are put together, they produce what looks like one continuous moving image. Miyazaki is well known for creating animated films.

Voice 1

Phillippa Hawker of "The Age" news organization called Miyazaki,

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"One of the most important modern filmmakers. He just happens to work in animation."

Voice 2

But Miyazaki's success did not come quickly. He spent 25 years working as an animator for other people. In 1985, he and two of his co-workers started their own animation office, named Studio Ghibli. In 1986, Studio Ghibli released its first film, "Castle in the Sky." In 1989 the studio had its first popular film, called "Kiki's Delivery Service." Ever since then, Miyazaki has been making his own animated films.

Voice 1

Miyazaki's films are different than many of other animated films. Many people believe his films have more meaning than other children's animated films.

Voice 2

Miyazaki's characters are one example of how Miyazaki's films are different. Most of his lead characters are young girls that grow and change during the movie. They are complex characters, like real children. They are both brave and afraid. They are intelligent and yet lack experience in the real world. Many people relate to his characters. One of Miyazaki's most famous films is called "Spirited Away." He told Tom Mes of midnighteye . com how and why he made that film.

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"It was through observing the daughter of a friend that I saw there were no films made for her... Girls like her see films that contain characters her age, but they can not identify with them..." 

Voice 1

Miyazaki's villains are also complex. A villain is the character responsible for trouble or harm in a story. Just like Miyazaki's lead characters are not completely good, his villains are not completely bad. They are complex characters with problems of their own. For this reason, many people feel sympathy for the villains and their bad choices.

Voice 2

Miyazaki's films are also different because of his details. His stories take place in make-believe places, and they include magic - spiritual powers over the natural world. But the stories feel real. His characters perform simple, daily customs. They live like real people.

Voice 1

Modern Japanese animation usually takes place in the future – in worlds with machines and robots. Miyazaki's stories may also be in the future, but his worlds are still filled with trees and animals. This is because he wants to show the beauty that already exists in real life.

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Miyazaki creates his films using a different method than many animators. Miyazaki does not start by writing a story. Instead, his stories start with his pictures. He told Tom Mes,

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"The film makes itself and I have no choice but to follow."

Voice 1

Finally, Miyazaki uses colour differently. In modern Japanese animation, animators may only use 5 or 6 colours. But Miyazaki will use 300 to 600 colours in his films. This means the pictures in his films are more complex and more beautiful.

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One major reason for Miyazaki's success is his skill in creating people and places that feel real. He believes in making films that children can connect with. Miyazaki's respect for the minds of children is the reason for his long lasting success.

Voice 1

Miyazaki's films appeal to adults as well. In the film "Spirited Away," the lead character is a young girl named Chihiro. Magic turns Chihiro's parents into pigs. She must stay in this magical world until she finds a way to rescue her parents. In one part, Chihiro must take a train ride. She is hoping to find someone who will help her. Chihiro is lonely and afraid but also excited to be doing something so important. Many adults remember feeling the same way as Chihiro when they were growing up.

Voice 2

In "Howl's Moving Castle," the main character is a young girl named Sophie. Magic changes her into an old woman. Miyazaki wanted this experience to make the young girl wise. While Sophie is old, she changes from a quiet little girl into a brave and honest woman. Miyazaki's film is based on a book of the same name by Diana Wynne-Jones.

Miyazaki knew that using a story, with an old woman as its star, was a risk. He told Margaret Talbot of The New Yorker magazine,

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"It is a big risk, but it is a mistake to believe that being young means you are happy."

Voice 1

Many people believe Miyazaki's characters and stories are so real because he bases them on his own life. Miyazaki was born on January 5th, 1941. His mother was sick most of his life, but she lived for a very long time. Miyazaki had a good relationship with his mother. Some people believe this is why he uses brave women as main characters in many of his stories.

Voice 2

Miyazaki also remembers Japan before it was full of buildings and machines. When he was a child, Japan was in ruins because of World War Two. Miyazaki often dreamed about far away places like Europe. He liked to imagine a version of Europe that was unaffected by war. This is why many of the places in his films look more like Europe than Japan.

Voice 1

Although Miyazaki creates animated films, he is worried about the effect modern technology has on children. He wants children to experience nature and the open air. He believes people depend too much on television and games to occupy them. Miyazaki believes technology negatively affects human emotions as well. He wants children to be able to dream and to hope beyond technology.

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Miyazaki is afraid of the future effects of technology on children. However, he does not let this fear affect his films. Most of his films are about believing in what people can achieve. They are full of hope and promise. He told Margaret Talbot,

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"I do not believe that adults should force their ideas of the world on children. Children are very able to form their own views."

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Miyazaki speaks to the child that lives in every person. His films connect with that part of us that still hopes and dreams. That part of us that still believes in the unbelievable.

Voice 2

The writer of this program was Corrie Haluga. The producer was Mark Drenth. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. You can find this program and others on our website at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, "Turning Pictures Into Films." We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye!

Question:

Have you ever seen one of Hayao Miyazaki's films? Do you prefer animated films or films with live action?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
witchdalat
said on March 07, 2011

he is the man tells story by pictures.
regret, i have never seen his films.
one thing i drew out from this story is that: successness always start by real and truth.

Avatar Spotlight
GelezniyDen
said on March 10, 2011

Hello everybody and good day all people in the world. You know for me it was only interesting listened this article and knew who is man which makes anime films. But i don’t like anime!!!

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on June 09, 2016

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To spotlight programme
Subject: answer to the question above
Date: Thursday 09, June 2016
São Paulo SP Brazil

Dear Robin Basselin, Corrie Halunga, Ryan Geertsma, and Mark Drenth:

First of all, I want to thank you to bring us readers and learners of English more one important article . Thanks!
No, I have never.
I like so much animated films but I like films with live action. I like so much cartoon films and American movies.

Yours regards,
Severino Ramos
Brazil

Avatar Spotlight
ikharuz
said on June 11, 2016

The my frien tottoro is one of mucu popular film
I like poño or the secrete of the siren

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on June 11, 2016

I didn’t seen anyone of Hayao Miyazaki’s films.
Sometimes, I see the animated films, like “Ice Ege”, but I prefer the films with live action.
Respect

Avatar Spotlight
Lucy Hana
said on June 11, 2016

I have seen most of Hayao Miyazaki’s films or animated films made by Studio Glibi. His films are so good that they were Oscar nominee many times. Some of them are hard to understand but generally the movies are incredible. The plot and the character development are highly interesting.  His films are always meaningful and touchy.
One of my favorite movies is “Spirit away”. Chihiro (the lead character) has some characteristics that are similar to mine so when I watch the film I feel that I am in the movie, as if I was Chihiro. Another film which is extremely sad is “Grave of the fireflies”. The movie is about the severe life of a boy and his younger sister after World War. Losing parents and house in war, they have to live in a cave. The boy must work hard to earn money to cure his sister’s sickness. If you want to know the desperation that war brings to people’s life, you should watch this movie. I don’t dare to watch it twice because it took me a lot of tear in the first time.
I admire Hayao Miyazaki for continue making multiple valuable masterpieces to society despite of his old age.  To me, Hayao Miyazaki’s films will live forever.