movie or animation?

April 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

from up on poppy hilli heard about the latest miyazaki movie and having seen almost all of his works, i urged myself to go and watch from up on poppy hill. paddling my bike for twenty minutes under a light freezing rain to the movies, had a hot cider and proceed to the hall.

i saw the movie in japanese with subtitles which created an authentic feeling and at the same time made it more enjoyable, listening to the songs as a continuation of the script instead of an appendix to it.

my first reaction after the movie was finished was, “no magic?! no spirits?! no ghosts?!” and my first impression was “what a cheesy, mélange of bollywood-hollywood, teenage love story movie, it was!” so I was so disappointed, until afterwards, i thought to myself, “wait a minute, hayao was part of the production, it can’t be that shallow! and then i’ve had my uh-huh moment! i realized i lost those subliminal once in a while hints in the movie to the surface story because all the time i was waiting for some magic to happen!

one of the most prominent features that you could see throughout the whole anime was the japanese collectivistic society as well as the inherent giri (burden of obligation) culture, which is in a sense natural to the story; the mother leaving the whole family to go to america to study, the girl’s over-commitment to the household, and so on.

the other part of the animation that deserve some attention, was the part of debasement of philosophy against science — action against over-thinking. it also goes so far to comment that at least science is about action while philosophy is about stagnancy and waste of time. the coolness of science labs and students comparing to the abandoned philosophy shack, holding some old books and underpants, was a bit out of scale.

the nice scenery of the suburban life comparing to tokyo’s depressed and filthy streets. quiet and calm people of the country versus the hectic, tensed metropolitan crowd. and the main plot’s struggle between the modernist demolishers of the clubhouse and romanticist keepers of it that concluded in the victory of the latter, and the glorious and cheerful chanting of the triumph.

all in all, i guess it was an ok animation, maybe goro is better off making movies instead, or he should add some fantasy into his works. i wouldn’t recommend it, if you’re expecting a hayao anime though.

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illusion of freedom

November 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

the age of reason by jean-paul sartrethe age of reason by jean-paul sartre is what i consider a piece of lierature with all the glamours and nuances of a beautifully written one. it is one of the few books i’ve read that carries you through each character’s thoughts, feelings and lines of reasoning. the plot and story line is not the book’s forte, rather the way sartre developed its simple story into a book, which you don’t want to put down, is its excellence.

the book narrates a scholarly-styled life of a philosophy professor who tries to maintain what he defines freedom in his life, in spite of all the events and people that want to force him towards what sartre calls the age of reason. the age at which apparently you should start to be responsible and to care for your deeds as well as the life of people around you. it somehow sounds like a rite of passage, except that the protagonist never passes over. this book is the start of a trilogy called the roads to freedom, however so far the only freedom depicted was the professor’s perspective of it, or better to say his fear of responsibility and commitment. all the rest of the characters seem to have a tendency to intentionally escape this type of freedom.

it’s very hard to tell if sartre’s perspective is a reflection of his own mind or he is narrating a familiar story, for although he explains all the scenes, feelings, thoughts and actions very well, it doesn’t sound to be a real story.

i know sartre as a philosopher, an existentialist, however i recognize this book as just a well written novel and although it is very tempting to label it as an existentialist book, it doesn’t fit very well. in my opinion the concept of fiction/novel defies the fundamentals of existentialism. based on existentialism the story you are reading is not the same story the author wrote!

to conclude, i enjoyed the book and i look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.

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