Marchenfilm im besten sinne

Super RTL zeigt heute um 20 Uhr 15 Hayao Miyazakis Meisterwerk "Chihiros Reise ins Zauberland"

Hayao Miyazakis Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi ist ein Marchenfilm im besten Sinne. It follows on directly from the heyday of Disney Studios, which produced two of the most important scary movies of the 20th century, Snow White (1937) and Bambi (1942). In the early twentieth century. Bambi in particular, with its malevolent and unpredictable forces of nature bursting out of all four sides of the screen, anticipated much of what was (rightly) hailed as groundbreaking in Evil Dead. The heyday of Disney Studios is long gone. In recent decades, the company has focused its creativity on lobbying for changes in the law that require copyright for its productions, thus ensuring the company a royalty return even without innovation.

Fairy tale film in the best sense

Hayao Miyazaki. Photo: Thomas Schulz. License: CC-BY-SA 2.0

The relay of innovation was taken up by others – most notably political scientist and economist Hayao Miyazaki, who worked at Toei animation studios until the early 1980s and later founded the Ghibli company. With his anime classics Kaze no tani no Naushika (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds) and Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke), he left his cinematic mark on both the 1980s and 1990s.

Yet his early creative period, with works such as the more famous than famous series Arupusu no shoujo Haiji (Heidi), gave no hint of Miyazaki’s genius. This genius lies above all in his talent for designing figures, tools and buildings that, in their complete strangeness on the one hand and their reference to familiar (Japanese as well as Western) elements on the other, make the viewer shiver again and again. With Toei, Miyazaki was not yet able to use this talent – only with his own studio was he able to give himself a completely free hand in designing his fantasy worlds and fully develop his talent. But not only in terms of design, but also in terms of narrative art and complexity, Miyazaki’s films clearly differ from the Hollywood reindeer’s attempts to ingratiate themselves with the pisaversager culture. While the main characters in Disney movies of the noughties were simply and profitably presented by the marketing machinery as "Surfer guy" with "Boygroup-Attitude" Miyazaki’s characters reveal themselves only gradually and are almost always something other than they seem at the beginning. In addition, there are elements that are critical of civilization, which the Japanese filmmaker does not insert in a flat, razzle-dazzle manner, but in such a subtle way that they even touch the hearts of those viewers who are otherwise unfamiliar with any kind of occodus.

The plot of Sen to Chihiro: Ten-year-old Chihiro’s parents move to a new home. But where her new house should be, there ends suddenly the village and a forest begins. Chihiro sees a shrine in the distance and asks her parents about it. They explain to her that this is a dwelling place for spirits. Shortly after, like a sentinel, a stone figure blocks the overgrown path through the forest. Behind her is a thick wall and an archway. Behind it there is a landscape with buildings like in Japan before the dawn of the Meiji-ara – that is, before the invasion of European aesthetics. Parents think the area is an abandoned theme park, but are fascinated by the beauty of the landscape. Finally, lured by the scent of food, they reach a store where there is a restaurant with fragrant delicacies, but no people.

Fairy tale film in the best sense

While her parents indulge in bodily pleasures, the fearful Chihiro explores the surroundings and stumbles upon the boy Haku, dressed in traditional costume, who warns her to leave the area quickly as it will soon be dark. When Chihiro reaches the restaurant, the sun has already set and her parents have turned into pigs. Now the village suddenly comes to life with all kinds of animal and mythical creatures which (what characterizes good films and paintings) are difficult to describe in their strangeness and which – also in their movements – make up a large part of the fascination of the film. To avoid becoming a pig, Chihiro has to work for Yubaba – the ruler of the city. She is a witch with a huge head and the character and optical attributes of the European Grobburgertum of the 19th century. Century. And indeed, the production conditions in the city are an image of Manchester capitalism: Kamaji, a spider creature, operates a machine with its many legs that is reminiscent of the Moloch in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. The coals for the plant are brought by the Susuwataris, of whom Kamaji says that only the work would animate the actually lifeless knauel.

Chihiro has to work in the bathhouse together with ghost women, frogs and snails. The guests in this bathhouse include personified forces of nature, radish creatures and a masked spirit that devours other beings with its black body. Yubaba also changes Chihiro’s name into "Sen" (the first character in "Chihiro" read differently). And with it the first part of the film title would be explained. For the second, "Kamikakushi", the Ghibli studio has made the english translation "Spirited Away" chosen. In fact "kami" ghosts and "kakusu" means "hide."

As the story progresses, Chihiro/Sen learns with the viewer the workings as well as the rules of the alien society and tries to find a way to escape. But any more words now would spoil the suspense for the reader who does not yet know the film.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *