Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Ghibli Museum Short – やどさがし / Yadosagashi / Searching for a Home (plus Film Guru-Guru)

Today at the Ghibli Museum, the screening was of Yadosagashi, Miyazaki’s 2006 short with all sound effects provided by the human voice. Waiting eagerly in the queue clutching our little reproduction-cel tickets, I tried to read the summary – happy-go-lucky girl Fuki sets out to find a new family home, with her big rucksack full of apples. Before I could give in and admit how few of those kanji I could actually read, though, the doors opened and in we went.

Yadosagashi is a pretty perfect film for the setting – light and fluffy, but clever and highly charming. Made, presumably, during the Ponyo production period, it reflects the same whimsicality and is drawn in a simple, unshaded, rather loose style that reminds me of Panda Kopanda. Miyazaki is still capable of making films like a newcomer, and that is an uncanny talent.

Fuki sets out away from the angry roars of the roadside to return to nature. It is lucky she has her apples, because whenever she comes across something a little scary, she offers it an apple, which tends to placate it, or at least distract it. Eventually, the rain starts to fall and she takes shelter in a little hut, at first disturbing the vast numbers of creepy-crawlies living there, but then later befriending them. Yes, this film does the great service of making cockroaches and centipedes adorable! Fuki’s parting gift of an apple to the forest spirit ensures her a safe journey onwards, back towards the man-made.

The visuals are very light and almost slapdash, but that gives a whimsical charm to proceedings. The sound is perhaps the real focus. Instead of realistic sound effects, everything is done with the human voice imitating the real world or speaking onomatopoeias. Yes, Akagi fans rejoice – even ‘Zawa’ makes it in. This can be a little goofy, but that’s okay, because it all comes over as charming and a little silly, which is just what is intended. It has also been noted as perfect for an international audience, because there is almost no dialogue and most of what is actually spoken is a little garbled. The story is perfectly intelligible and the only tiny point my friends could have missed was the forest spirit asking Fuki to come visit again some time.

Light, gentle and quite lovely, but not without some excellent humour, it was brilliant and has given me a thirst for more – but I’ll have to wait until my next visit to the museum for anything else, I suppose! Who knows how many years hence? I must resist camrips…the experience of sitting in that theatre was too wonderful to settle for a shaky version of Mei and the Kittenbus or the one about the little egg someone has sneakily filmed – not to mention against the artist’s intentions. But it’s hard!

Also showing in the lovely downstairs exhibition room, alongside a breathtaking wheel of models that a strobe light made to seem like was coming to life, was former museum animation Film Guru-Guru, which was a simple but lovely short about two creatures rapidly evolving in competition with each other – the highlight of course being dinosaurs – until one became a bird and the other a mammal, the latter eventually becoming human and going to find where the other had flown off to, only to find a girl for a little kiss. Sweet, simple, playful and perfectly-executed, I would love to see it on the big screen.

I’m sure the rest of the animations will eventually come out for home consumption. Very few Ghibli fans can afford to go to the museum enough times to see all the films. But for now, this will have to do! 

No comments:

Post a Comment