This class has breathed life into an old love of mine; Miyazaki films. When I was little I watched Spirited Away constantly. Strangely, it was the only film that scared me that I was willing to watch (I wouldn’t even watch Fox & the Hound because of the train scene towards the end). Tonight, a couple friends from class came over and we watched it again and I realized just how much of the movie I didn’t understand as a child.
First off, a high emphasis is placed on manners. Chihiro evolves through the movie from a ‘spoiled brat’ to a well-mannered, hard-working girl. There is a clear hierarchy and everyone knows the proper way to greet, thank and bid farewell to others. I find it interesting because in America, Chihiro at the beginning of the movie acts much better than most 10 year old’s I’ve know.
Another interesting note is the spirits/ demons commentary on society. In one scene an incredibly filthy, muck covered spirit comes into the bathhouse and it turns out that it was a river spirit who was filled with filth. Tons of trash came out and the river spirit was back to his original glory. Then Noface appears and lures in people with gold, eating them. Noface appears to just be a demon at first, but in the end, he is happy to live a simple life with a job– knitting for granny.
This movie is filled with themes and representations that I never realized overtly as a child. I am excited to rewatch other Miyazaki films that I loved as a child and notice what I was too young to understand.