Spirited Away (page 2) back to page 1
Article posted Sept. 13, 2002. Written by Mark Vallen/Jeannine Thorpe.
In the home of Sorceress Zeniba In the home of Sorceress Zeniba
In the home of Sorceress Zeniba In the home of Sorceress Zeniba

Q: There has been one new Studio Ghibli film released in Japan since Spirited Away, just a couple of months ago... "The Cat's Return" I believe is the official English translation of the title, "Neko no Ongaeshi" directed by Hiroyuki Morita. This is the first film from Studio Ghibli besides yourself and Isao Takahata, and unfortunately only one film by Yoshifumi Kondou. Are you grooming more directors, and are there any plans to release The Cat's Return in the US? A: Yes, for starters yes, if there's young talent we're more than happy, we're delighted in fact to embrace it and nurture it. And thankfully "Cat's Return" did quite well at the Japanese box office.

[Mr. Suzuki also responds] A: We're in discussions about a possible... we're considering a possible US release. Q: This question is possibly for both gentlemen, what do you think of the English dubbed version? A: I haven't seen it. [laughter] This is not just about this film, this is not limited to Spirited Away.
I never watch my movies after I watch it with my staff after it's done, at the end. So I'm not discriminating against Spirited Away. The fact of the matter is that I so deeply trust John Lasseter that I don't need to watch the film.
[Mr. Suzuki also responds] A: I haven't watched it yet either but I promise I will. [Miyazaki comments] I had no idea even the
producer hadn't seen it!
Rin (Lin)

Q: Mr. Miyazaki, since you started your collaboration with Walt Disney Studios, did you have a chance to visit the studios and talk to some animators, and if yes... is there a difference in the approach of the Japanese animators, and the Disney animators? A: We're alarmingly exactly the same... that we're all a part of it. Q: I'd like to know, in all of your films, which particular sequence in animation are you most proud of? And has there ever been a time when your imagination has gotten ahead of your ability?
There's seems to be a commonly accepted rule of filmmaking that at the end of the film there always has to be a climax, preferably action-filled. What I managed to achieve in this last film is that at the climax of the film, a little girl gets on a train. I'm inordinately proud of that. My hands are always trying to keep up with my imagination. And often structurally there are many beautiful sequences that I imagine that simply have no basis in the movie and that's frustrating. It's not that the producer nixed it.

Bath House staff
Bath House staff

Q: You're very well known for your female characters, going all the way back to Nausicaa. Where do you feel Chihiro fits in this little canon of yours? A: (impishly) I love all my female characters.... (long pause), is that not an answer? Q: What advice would you give for American animation to improve, as well as Japanese animation to improve? A: I'm not in a position to advise anyone. All I would say is, don't underestimate children.

Q: I had a question regarding, I believe it was at the last Academy Awards, they started an animation category. I just wanted to get your opinion on that, and are you excited about the possibility of future films winning an Academy Award? [Mr. Miyazaki] A: Doesn't interest me. [Mr. Suzuki also responds] A: I of course want to win. Q: It seems in your movies that you have a very, kind of an adoration and fondness for the first time you fall in love. Who did you fall in love with the first time?

Bath House of the Gods Bath House of the Gods

A: If everything worked out that well in my life, you think I'd be in the movie business? Q: Speaking of the movie business, who are some directors you admire? A: Yuri Norstein, a Russian animator... is a great artist. Q: John Lasseter says... to be a great animation director you can never grow up. In what way did this film tap into your own view in a very personal way? A: I don't know. It's certainly not one of my... [trails off] I actually met John Lassetter 20 years ago when I came to Los Angeles to work on a job, and I didn't encounter him through my work. He was off in a small studio, I think he had been dispatched by Disney to go, and he was working alone trying to develop 3D animation.

Chihiro's Mother and Father Chihiro's Mother and Father

Unlike the John Lassetter of today he was a very slender young man at the time, he was also modest and engaging and I took an immediate liking to him. It took a long time for his solo efforts to pay off, but no one was happier in the world than I was when Toy Story did so well. [end]

The BLACK MOON would like to thank the entire staff of the American Cinematheque/Egyptian Theater (who helped make it all possible), Howard E. Green/Disney Pictures, and The El Capitan Theater for their generous assistance in providing us access to Mr. Miyazaki and Mr. Suzuki.

You can also read the official SPIRITED AWAY PRESS RELEASE
Artworks used with permission. Nibariki.TGNDDTM. Courtesy of Studio Ghibil/Disney.
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