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Archive for August 15th, 2016

Nausicaa - 5 closer

by John Grant

Originally titled Kaze no Tani no Naushika
vt Nausicaä; cut vt Warriors of the Wind
Japan / 117 minutes / color / Topcraft, Toei Dir & Scr: Hayao Miyazaki Pr: Isao Takahata Story: Kaze no Tani no Naushika (1982 onward manga) by Hayao Miyazaki Cine: Yasuhiro Shimizu, Kôji Shiragami, Yukitomo Shudo, Mamoru Sugiura Voice cast: Sumi Shimamoto (Nausicaä), Yoshiko Sakakibara (Kushana), Yôji Matsuda (Asbel), Gorô Naya (Lord Yupa), Ichirô Nagai (Old Mito), Iemasa Kayumi (Kurotawa). Hisako Kyôda (Oh-Baba), Rihoko Yoshida (Teto), Mahito Tsujimura (Jhil), Kôhei Miyauchi (Goru), Jôji Yanami (Gikkuri), Minoru Yada (Niga), Mîna Tominaga (Lastel).

Sometime in the 1990s a friend of mine, the anime expert Andrew Osmond, suggested I should watch Nausicaä. I was skeptical. Although I knew something of Western animation—I’d written my book on Disney animation by then—I’d been unimpressed by the little anime I’d seen, which seemed to rely on cheesy, 1940s-pulp-style SF clichés and upskirt shots of giggling schoolgirls to cater to the onanistic pedophile market. (There are some upskirt shots in Nausicaä; they’re the one element I really dislike about the movie. Later Miyazaki would learn better, and abandon that particular anime tradition.)

You have to remember that the home video explosion was only just beginning, so it was very much harder to achieve the scope of movie watching that we enjoy today. Even so, thanks to a local video library I was able to lay hands on a not particularly stretched VHS of the movie, and settled in with my metaphorical popcorn.

Nausicaä was an eye-opener for me. In technical terms the animation came nowhere close to the standards of the features that I was accustomed to by Disney, Don Bluth et al., but by way of compensation many of the backgrounds were astonishingly beautiful; more than that, the visualization of Princess Nausicaä’s future world was quite stunning.

Nausicaa - 13 A vision of the time that the Ohma stampeded

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pendas-fen

Alan Clarke’s PRNDA’S FEN is one of the greatest works ever to come out of the UK

scum

by Sam Juliano

Metropolitan area temperatures have risen to unbearable heights over the past week, with Sunday’s heat hovering around 100 degrees fahrenheit.  Hard to believe it, but August is now half spent, and all the various September beginnings are just two weeks away.  USA sports fans have been treated to some wildly successful performances by the nation’s athletes, but the UK, in third place across the board has also done superlatively well.  The British show was hardly unexpected though.

The science fiction countdown is moving along quite impressively, especially the writing of the essays which has been uniformly first rate.  The same can be said for the podcasts, which have been articulately negotiated and authoratively crafted.  We are nearly at the halfway point of this once daunting enterprise.

For the second week in a row I did not visit movie theaters even once, mainly because of the torrid pace I have sustained in keeping up my ongoing discussions with Allan Fish.  I have broken a personal record on the actual number of films seen in a single week, but the accomplishment is more of an admission of temporary insanity than it is of a boastful reference point.  Here is the proof for commitment, thirty (30) films seen.  A few were shorts, but vast majority feature length including one at four hours. (more…)

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