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HAYAO MIYAZAKI: DISCOVERING HUMANITY THROUGH ANIMATION

Hayao Miyazaki, the most acclaimed and loved anime director, the one who never retires, never failed to provide us with a quiet reprieve, to slow down and breathe, away from the never-ending race of modern-day life.

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Hayao Miyazaki
Photo Credits: movies.mxdwn.com

“Creating animation means creating a fictional world. That world soothes the spirit of those who are disheartened and exhausted from dealing with the sharp edges of reality.”

Hayao Miyazaki, has always stayed true to these words, and his works have never failed to provide us with a quiet reprieve, to slow down and breathe, away from the never-ending race of modern-day life.

Unlike in Japan, in the West there still remains a misconception that most animation are for children, and thus animation created in the west tends to avoid the deeper themes that one would see in a live action movie. However, Miyazaki has never been your average animator and his take on animation focuses on the emotional complexities of his characters as opposed to typical cartoons.

His journey first began in 1958, when Panda and the Magic Serpent (Hakujaden), became Japan’s first colour animation feature film. This tale of love, adventure and pandas, lights a spark within the young Tokyo born boy to become an animator. He embarks on his career in the industry in 1963, when he joins Toei Animation Studio as an animation artist.

Discouraged by the work he had to take on as an in-between animation artist, Miyazaki would have given up on his career if it wasn’t for Snedronnigen (The Snow Queen 1957) which gave him proof of how much love can be invested in the act of making drawings move, and making emotions come to life.


(The Snow Queen 1957 gif)

These influences are what inspired him to be the filmmaker that we know today. Hailed universally as the master of his craft, Miyazaki has now become the father to many critically acclaimed productions such as Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro and Howl’s Moving Castle.

The foundations to his films are built upon empathy and reality. Whilst the realism is captured by prioritizing the depiction of emotions amidst the gods, demons and fantasy elements, the empathy is captured through how relatable his characters are. He often does this by focussing on the human traits that transcends cultural boundaries.

 

VISUAL STYLE

In the beginning, Miyazaki was influenced by a style known as Gekiga, which means ‘dramatic pictures’ in Japanese. This was an art form used by manga artists, and presented a cynical outlook of the world. According to Miyazaki in his book ‘Starting Point: 1979 – 1996’, Gekiga was used by artists who suffered through misfortune and was used to portray grudges and feelings of spite, and there were no happy endings. Although Miyazaki found this style refreshing as a young student going through anxiety as a teenager, he later on abandoned this style after his exposure to Hakujaden.


(Gekiga art style)

Renowned for impeccable detail in his animated films, the co-founder of studio Ghilbi remains on the firm belief that hand drawing on paper is the fundamental to animation. Although not completely devoid of CG, much of his drawings are still drawn by hand, especially the key animation which forms the backbone of the entire movie.


(A water color sketch of Spirited Away storyboard)

Although, attention to detail is one of his main discerning techniques, there are times when he uses the sheer lack of it, to stun his audiences. For example, in Spirited Away, in the train trip scene of Chihiro with No-Face, almost no scenes are used where the outside view is shown. We only see a thinking Chihiro and an almost expressionless No-Face within the train. In this scene, Miyazaki wanted to express the feeling a person has when traveling to a partly unknown destination, of which he or she is anxious about and forgets all other surroundings.

 

 

FILM AND CHARACTER DESIGN

Famous for expressing his distaste for the anime industry at large, Miyazaki has condemned the use of cheap tactics of over-expressionism to gain viewer attention in mainstream anime. Thus, rather than focusing on flashy movements, he prefers to draw attention to the more familiar idiosyncrasies; simple acts such as someone crawling on their knees not to tread on a carpet, pulling up their chair a little closer to see better, in the process, giving his characters a sense of three dimensionality. These unconscious acts are what defines his characters for who they are, whether it be clumsy and stubborn or careful and precise.

Furthermore, when it comes to facial features, Contrary to typical anime features (i.e. large anime eyes), which he perceives as gross and deformed, Miyazaki draws his own characters more realistically in order to express true feeling, which in turn would make them more believable and relatable to the audience.

Miyazaki’s attitude towards filmmaking is quite different since he has never formally studied screen writing. The scripts and story board are made simultaneously with the film, so that no one has a clear idea of the ending and instead, most of the scenes are fleshed out individually. The reason why his films create settings so well is that he continuously alters the landscape with no other motive than to evoke feelings. These landscapes will most often depict the innermost feelings of the character itself.

Another unique trait in his films is that he also lets characters breathe. Instead of every movement being dictated by the story, sometimes his characters would take a pause to reflect, or admire the scenery. This technique in Japanese is called ‘Ma’ which means emptiness. According to Miyazaki rather than having non-stop action, by taking a moment, the tension built in the film can grow into a wider dimension.

Miyazaki once said that if he was asked to give his view on what animations is, he would say that it is whatever he wants to make. Despite the gods and mythical creatures on the surface, the heart of his movies lies in people’s feelings and how they come to grow and change with it. In the end, he offers a sense of freedom for his characters, a new dawning, or an understanding, and in turn does so for us as well. With a skill in emotional filmmaking unparalleled by any other of his craft, Miyazaki has shown that animation can be made the canvas for depicting the very essence of humanity, which he most surely succeeds at portraying.

 

INTERESTING FACTS

Image result for the wind rises gifHayao Miyazaki announced his ‘sixth retirement’ in 2013 after his film The Wind Rises. But has since then started working on his new short film Boro the Caterpillar. According to his son Goro Miyazaki, his 74-year-old father will never truly retire. “[Hayao] gets bored when his goal is maintaining [the Ghibli Museum], so he needs things to fiddle around with.”

Known for his intense mistrust in computers, ironically, Boro the Caterpiller will be also his first CGI short film.

Image result for spirited away gif

An old lady once told him “Children need to see something incomprehensible, and they’ll understand it later”. This is exactly what most Miyazaki fans have understood in his films, that growing up they discover more and more depth in his stories. One famous revelation is that his much loved anime movie Spirited Away themes prostitution. Miyazaki has confirmed this stating “I just think that the sex industry is the best thing to represent the reality of today’s Japanese society. Now, the sex industry is everywhere in Japan. And the number of young girls who look like whores is increasing.”

Image result for ghibli

The name Ghibli is based on the Arabic sirocco (the Mediterranean wind), as the Studio wanted to “blow a new wind through the Japanese anime industry”.

Image result for goro miyazaki

Goro Miyazaki once said that instead of being raised by a dad, he was raised by his father’s works. During the production of the Tales of the Earthsea, he accused him of having scored ten points as a director, but zero points as a father.

 

Hayao Miyazaki, the most acclaimed and loved anime director, the one who never retires, we wish he makes more movies so that we all can relive our childhood and escape this world of chaos!

 

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ABOUT LEE JONG SUK BEFORE HE LEAVES FOR HIS ARMY SERVICE | PROFILES

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Lee Jong Suk profile

Lee Jong Suk is a quite popular name in Korea these days. He has had a pretty busy year with the release of his film V.I.P, his lead role in the Chinese drama, Jade Lovers (which has yet to air) and the Korean drama While You Were Sleeping. The drama stars Lee Jong Suk and Suzy and is currently airing. The drama has been receiving a lot of favourable response from the public and is doing quite well in ratings.

Originally a model, Lee has built a name for himself as an actor through roles in various movies and dramas. His start as an actor was through the drama Prosecutor Princess which aired in 2010. He played a minor role in the drama, which paved the way for a supporting role in the highly popular drama Secret Garden. His role as Han Tae Sun, a surly, cold musician helped his popularity soar. His chemistry with co-star Yoon Sang Hyun was one of the reasons for this popularity.

While Secret Garden helped him earn a certain amount of popularity, it was actually the 2012 drama, School 2013, which propelled him to stardom. His character of a troubled student and his bromance with co-star Kim Woo Bin were the highlights of the drama. He also won his first acting award in the Best New Actor category at the KBS Drama Awards for his performance.

He followed up this success with a string of exceedingly popular projects like I Hear Your Voice (2013), Pinocchio (2014) and The Face Reader (2013), to name a few. Most of his successful dramas were romantic comedies and much of their success can be attributed to Lee and his acting. From his swoon-worthy good looks to the way he delivers his lines, he makes a perfect romantic male lead. From the lovely Park Shin Hye in Pinocchio to veteran actress Lee Bo Young, his chemistry with his co-stars have been perfectly outstanding.

W, the 2016 drama about a webtoon character that comes to life, was a sort of different character for Lee. It showed another facet of his acting and earned him the Daesang (Grand Prize) at the 2016 MBC Drama Awards. It was a heavily appreciated drama, mainly for the freshness of the concept and setting of the drama and for Lee’s character Kang Chul. Courageous, emotional and romantic, he was the perfect man until he gets accused of a murder. Of course, this all happens in a webtoon from which he is rescued by female lead Oh Yeon Joo, played Han Hyo Joo. A great drama that suffered a few minor hiccups, in terms of the plot. An excellent addition to Lee’s ever-growing résumé.

Lee Jong Suk is often complimented on his choice of projects as they usually turn out to be successes. The project for which he’s earned the most awards to date would probably be the 2013 drama I Can Hear Your Voice. He was awarded Excellence Awards for the drama at the 6th Korean Drama Awards, Korean Culture and Entertainment Awards, SBS Drama Awards and at the APAN Star Awards. He was also nominated for Best Actor (TV) at the 50th Baeksang Arts Awards in 2014. The drama also made him immensely popular internationally. His character, Park Soo Ha, was both engaging and well-developed and his romance with lead actress, Lee Bo Young was definitely the best thing about the drama. Even years after it finished airing, the drama is still a favourite among Korean drama fans.

In his currently airing drama, While You Were Sleeping, he plays the role of a prosecutor who experiences premonitions of various disastrous events. Jae Chan, his character in the drama, is an odd-mixture of sorts. Sometimes cold, sometimes warm, sometimes suave, sometimes awkward. Lee, with all his previous experience as a lead actor and his stellar acting skills, he fabulously brings to life all the little facets of his character. Definitely a character worth watching for.

With his handsome looks, acting skills and his choice of projects, Lee Jong Suk is unquestionably an actor who has a bright future ahead of him. We probably may not be able to enjoy his work for a few more years due to his impending army service, but his characters and dramas have definitely left a lasting impression in our hearts.

 

 

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SRK’S CHEMISTRY WITH 12 OF HIS LEADING LADIES RANKED!

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SRK and leading ladies

Synonymous with romance and with an envious fan following from around the world, it is without a doubt that Shah Rukh Khan is a global superstar and the heartthrob of countless men and women. His charm, wit, smile, the way he extends his arms to call his beloved, his walk, talk – basically everything has every dil going pagal. The way in which he looks at his heroine is what clicks with his audience.

Today, as our favourite Raj and Rahul turns another year old, we at FilmGeekly have analyzed his chemistry with 12 of his leading ladies. Take a look!

1. Shah Rukh Khan – Kajol (or should we say SRKajol?)

Image result for Shah Rukh Khan – Kajol

This pairing gets our highest rating for obvious reasons. We are more than thankful to Abbas-Mustan for casting them opposite each other in Baazigar (1993) because they are not only India’s most loved onscreen couple, they are one of the most adored pairings in the history of cinema. Their chemistry is to die for and every time they come on screen, we really think they have a janam janam ka bandhan. SRK himself has said that he would have not been such a big superstar if Kajol had not starred in their films together. The songs Tujhe Dekha To from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Suraj Hua Maddham from Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) and Janam Janam from Dilwale (2015) are proof of their passion. Needless to say why we, as children, thought they were married in real life too.

2. Shah Rukh Khan – Rani Mukerji

Image result for Shah Rukh Khan – Rani Mukerji

They were sweet in Chalte Chalte (2003) and daring in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006). SRK has looked great opposite Rani Mukerji and together have come across as a convincing pair. Paheli (2005) saw them in endearing roles and they have complemented each other well. Watch them in songs like Tauba Tumhare from Chalte Chalte and Mitwa from Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna to see the sparks fly.

3. Shah Rukh Khan – Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Image result for Shah Rukh Khan – Aishwarya Rai

From their unconventional casting as twins Max and Shirley in Mansoor Khan’s Josh (2002) to playing Devdas and Paro in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s tragedy, Devdas (2002), they showed us that they could work it both ways – as siblings and as lovers. They made an adorable pair in Mohabbatein (2000) too and their romance to the song Humko Humise Chura Lo is still loved by many. Fans were thrilled when they saw them, even for a short time in Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016), as it reunited them after a gap of 14 years.

4. Shah Rukh Khan – Juhi Chawla

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Juhi Chawla is one actress with whom SRK shares superb comic timing with. Their pairing is completely adorable and this is very evident in films like Yes Boss (1997) and Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (2000). Their goofy nature is visible in Duplicate (1998) and their scorching chemistry in the song Tu Mere Saamne from the thriller Darr (1993), is enough proof of their comfort level.

5. Shah Rukh Khan – Preity Zinta

Image result for Shah Rukh Khan – Preity Zinta

Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003) and Veer-Zaara (2004) saw SRK portraying Aman Mathur and Veer Pratap Singh, two characters who show immense sacrifice in the awakening of love. Kal Ho Naa Ho made us weep and how thanks to Aman’s untimely death. SRK’s chemistry with Preity Zinta dates back to Dil Se.. (1998), most notably in the song Jiya Jale. Watch the title track of Kal Ho Naa Ho and Tere Liye from Veer-Zaara for evidence of their onscreen love.

6. Shah Rukh Khan – Madhuri Dixit-Nene

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After a couple of flops, the duo struck gold with Yash Chopra’s musical hit Dil To Pagal Hai (1997). How can we forget SRK’s Rahul whispering ‘Aur paas, aur paas’ to Madhuri’s Pooja? SRK has mentioned that he has much respect for the actress. Their on screen chemistry is apparent in the songs Are Re Are and Dholna from Dil To Pagal Hai and the title song from Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam (2002).

7. Shah Rukh Khan – Manisha Koirala

Image result for Shah Rukh Khan – Manisha Koirala

They have starred in two films together – Guddu (1995) and Dil Se.. (1998). While the former was a critical and commercial flop, the latter became a cult classic. Despite being a commercial flop, Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se..  is the only film of theirs which is worth a watch, which brings to light their raw energy, especially in the song Satrangi Re. Watch the song to see the enthralling magic.

8. Shah Rukh Khan – Sushmita Sen

Image result for main hoon na

How can one forget Ms. Chandni and her fancy sarees? SRK and Sushmita Sen’s ‘chemistry’ (pun intended) was the stuff of dreams especially in Main Hoon Na (2004). They did star opposite each other in Dulha Mil Gaya (2010) but the film was not a success. Tumhe Jo Maine Dekha, Tumse Milke Dil Ka and Gori Gori and several scenes from Main Hoon Na allowed the pair to set the screen on fire.

9. Shah Rukh Khan – Priyanka Chopra

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A few pairs are beautiful, some are cute and then there’s SRK and PC. The duo’s appeal was clear as Don and Roma, more so in Don 2 (2012) than Don (2006). Theirs was one of the hottest jodis to be introduced in the 2000s and we wait for Don 3 with baited breath. Revisit their onscreen camaraderie in Don 2, especially in the song Dushman Mera.

10. Shah Rukh Khan – Kareena Kapoor Khan

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Their memorable pairing as Emperor Asoka alias Pawan and Kaurwaki in the period film Asoka (2000) had us awed. Their onscreen presence was seen differently not long after, in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) when they essayed the roles of brother-in-law and sister-in-law. They also starred opposite each other in the sci-fi film Ra.One (2011) and made everyone dance to the hip and happening Chammak Challo. The song Roshni Se from Asoka is testimony to their visual appeal as a pair.

11. Shah Rukh Khan – Deepika Padukone

Image result for Shah Rukh Khan – Deepika Padukone

They made hearts go aww with their pairing as Om Prakash Makhija and Shantipriya and as Om Kapoor and Sandhya in Om Shanti Om (2007). Their chemistry was further seen in Chennai Express (2013) and Happy New Year (2014). Their dimpled affection is evident in the songs Main Agar Kahoon from Om Shanti Om, Titli from Chennai Express and Manwa Laage from Happy New Year.

12. Shah Rukh Khan – Anushka Sharma

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Their quirky but innocent love affair in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008) warmed our hearts and made us wish that they had ended up together in Yash Chopra’s swan song, Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012). Anushka Sharma’s effervescence was present in all 3 films that she starred with SRK and their comfort level was seen in their most recent venture, Jab Harry Met Sejal (2017). Watch Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai and Dance Pe Chance from Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Jiya Re from Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Radha from Jab Harry Met Sejal for their onscreen camaraderie.

 

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APPRECIATING KATE WINSLET; TALENT UNFEIGNED AND VERSATILE

For years now, Kate Winslet has been providing solid performances and needless to say is guaranteed to be remembered throughout time for them.

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Kate Winslet

This English actress born in 1975 (aged 42 as of 5th October 2017) proved to make her name known as an idol in the film industry with countless awards to her name due to her undisputed skill.

Since a young age, Kate Winslet had been exposed to drama having a family already involved in the industry.It was at the age 11 to be exact that she began studying drama and in her teenage years alone, has participated in more than twenty stage productions.

Her film debut, Heavenly Creatures (1994) received much praise for her performance as a vivacious teenager whom with her best friend, were ready to go to extreme extents to keep their obsessive friendship going. This psychological drama, along with her supporting role in Sense and Sensibility(1995) helped her gain recognition. It was not however, till James Cameron’s Titanic (1997) that Kate Winslet became a star, becoming an idol for girls across the nation. You’ll find there to be a particular type of character Winslet tends to gravitate to-the spirited kind.

Having successfully achieved global recognition, things would only look up for Winslet. The movies she acted in contained mostly one constant- praise for her performances by critics. She has acted in several movies (Iris, Quills, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Flushed Away, The Holiday etc.) Looking back on her career there’s quite a few we can appreciate-

·        Finding Neverland (2004) where she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. The film was also her highest grossing to be a part of since Titanic.

·        Revolutionary Road (2008) where she was coupled with Leonardo Di Caprio, which was quite  a bold move since nothing would ever top the actor’s and actress’ first performance as a couple. Winslet as usual, excelled in performance, winning a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress.

·        The Reader (2008) where Winslet received many awards to her name for her performance (from ceremonies such as the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, BAFTA Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and so on)Needless to say, the romantic drama did plenty of good for her achievements .

·        The Dressmaker (2015) where she won her only AACTA award for Best Actress in her performance as a woman returning to her hometown to get revenge for the misfortune that happened across her when she was young.

Genre that Winslet acts in widely varies (her latest involvement being in a young adult dystopia film series, Divergent and Insurgent) but she has received a numerous amount of awards over the years and holds the distinction of being the youngest person to ever get 6 Academy nominations. The English actress managed to make a name for herself in much less than a decade, a feat to be proud of.

The mother of 3 has also narrated children’s books, even receiving a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for Children. The actress has also proved herself to be quite the singer contributing to some of her films soundtracks (Sono Andati an aria from Le Bohème in the film Heavenly Creatures and What If from the film Christmas Carol: The Movie).

On a personal note, Winslet stands against subtle or blatant body shaming (even winning court cases on the topic).This trait of being comfortable with your own physical attributes shows in her career as well with regards to the type of character we always find her gravitating to. She has also founded the Golden Hat Foundation dedicated to children with autism, receiving an award for her Humanitarian Work. It would seem it is not just with her career that Winslet tends to excel in.

 

For years now, Winslet has been providing solid performances and needless to say is guaranteed to be remembered throughout time for them. Here’s hoping for more memorable films from Winslet to come. 

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