Hayao Miyazaki Talks Hand-Drawn Animation at Venice
by Alex Billington
September 1, 2008
I will forever be a fan of Hayao Miyazaki, the Japanese filmmaker responsible for many of the greatest anime movies of all-time. He just finished premiering his latest film, Ponyo on the Cliff, at the 65th Venice Film Festival and some early reviews have hit as well as some great quotes from Miyazaki himself. To me, Miyazaki is like Shigeru Miyamoto from Nintendo, a cinematic genius who has changed the world with his animation. I can't help but always feature stories about Miyazaki and today we've got another good one. Reuters reported back from the press conference with Miyazaki and his quotes on animation are wonderful to see, especially considering it's a rare treat to hear Miyazaki talk to press anyway.
"I think animation is something that needs the pencil, needs man's drawing hand, and that is why I decided to do this work in this way," Miyazaki told press at Venice. "Currently computer graphics are of course used a great deal and, as I've said before, this use can at times be excessive." Ponyo on the Cliff is Miyazaki's eight feature film and even at 67 years old, he's still hand animating films himself. "I will continue to use my pencil as long as I can," he told them. We wrote about an interview previously with Toshio Suzuki (read that here), where he mentioned that Miyazaki drew the scenes with water and waves himself because no one else could make it look exactly how he wanted. A true testament to his talent.
As for the film itself, it's getting some early positive buzz, as was expected. The Japan Times writes: "No one but Miyazaki could have created anything like these moments, with anything like his mastery. If Ponyo is the start of his artistic second childhood, I say welcome to the sandbox." LoveHKFilm.com also praises the film with an incredibly glowing review. "Ponyo on the Cliff is another Miyazaki classic that is a marvelous feast for the eyes. Like a modern day fairytale, the film tells a timeless story of friendship and love that while surely be cherished for years to come." I'm anxiously awaiting my own opportunity to catch the film. Despite its child-like story and playful theme, it still seems like it contains that same magic that Miyazaki has brought to all of his films.
As everyone probably knows, I'm a Pixar fanboy at heart as well. And while in America we've got Pixar as our animation house that continues to amaze us every year, Miyazaki continues to dazzle in Japan with every new film that Studio Ghibli produces. It's amazing to see that each one of these animation houses couldn't be more different from one another - one using advanced computer technology, the other relying on age-old hand animation techniques. It just goes to show that as long as the passion and the heart is there, the production will succeed, no matter what the medium or how it was created. Although Miyazaki certainly seems to think otherwise, considering he will always hand animate his films.