Film Discussion 24: Princess Mononoke (1997)

Once again Miyazaki delivers an amazing film, and Josh, Nick, and Riley deliver an amazing discussion!

We cover whether this film falls into the tradition of epic films, and why it doesn't fit as nicely as we may like. We continue to discuss humanity's relationship to nature, moving beyond the rediscovering of nature (Totoro), exploring instead what we've lost in an industrial age and figure out how to move forward. The film shows that progress isn't necessarily bad, the past isn't always better, and we must remember what that progress costs us. We also delve into the moral ambiguity of this film's characters and how the true villain reveals itself (hint: it's not a person!)

Oh, and Nick and I couldn't let this conversation go too far without bringing Tolkien into the mix!

If you want to join us next month, be sure to check out the schedule and sign up for the next discussion. Hope to see you all soon, and happy movie watching!

Show Notes

DirkH on the nature of progress

The main message it seems to want to bring across is that progress is inevitable but that we should never lose sight of what it costs us.

Miyazaki on film's potential power in our lives

"...if, as artists, we try to tap into that soul level - if we say that life is worth living and the world is worth living in - then something good might come of it."

Roger Ebert on the ability of animation to show us the 'essence' of our world

I want to see wondrous sights not available in the real world, in stories where myth and dreams are set free to play. Animation opens that possibility, because it is freed from gravity and the chains of the possible. Realistic films show the physical world; animation shows its essence...

...It tells an epic story set in medieval Japan, at the dawn of the Iron Age, when some men still lived in harmony with nature and others were trying to tame and defeat it. It is not a simplistic tale of good and evil, but the story of how humans, forest animals and nature gods all fight for their share of the new emerging order.