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What's On? 25.05.17


What's On? 25.05.17

What to make of Studio Ghibli? I think 'anime' and my mind conjures images from Howl's Moving Castle, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. The latter is arguably the most celebrated, but they all share something in common: near-sexless adolescent heroes, starring in particular a kind-hearted girl drawn into a land of magic. Admittedly the scenarios can become a bit mawkish, or twee, for which I'll use the definition because I think it does fit Studio Ghibli's beautiful creations to some degree: excessively or affectedly quaint, pretty, or sentimental.

What to make of Studio Ghibli's latest animated special The Red Turtle, released this weekend? Cameo cinema is taking it seriously, by giving it several time slots over several days. The protagonist, meanwhile, is not a teenager but an adult, shipwrecked on an island. I've seen the word 'zen' used about it.

We could all use a bit of zen, couldn't we? I return to the dictionary definitions, the first one denoting the state of being relaxed, especially about things you can't control; then at the deeper origin, the Buddhist condition of emptying your mind and focusing on a singularity.

Is this to be the experience of watching The Red Turtle? Is the creature to be my singularity? Will I get bored by the animated silence? Will I hate myself for being bored, and for what it says about me? And now that I'm thinking these thoughts, do I enter the dark screening room of the Cameo with the constant awareness preying on my mind that if I do get bored, then I am not zen?

This film is stressing me already.

Follow the Red Turtle.
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