Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Princess Kaguya is based on a 10th-century Japanese folk story called The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, which tells of a poor couple that discover a mystical girl in a forest and take it upon themselves to raise her as a princess. It is directed by Isao Takahata. Most viewers will be more immediately grabbed by the astonishing art style. Princess Kaguya is like an old Japanese painting come to life. The fluid animation is drawn in minimalist, evocative watercolors with charcoal strokes.  In one amazing scene, the princess Kaguya’s angry fantasies of escaping an oppressive environment are shown in dizzying, coarse scrawls as the character takes flight.

With the advances in 3D, animation films are increasingly going in the direction toward live-action style images. Yet, rather than drawing in every detail and depicting something as if the real thing were there, paintings inherently have the great power to stir up the viewer’s vivid imagination and memory when the brush is used sparingly to give an impression of the real thing.
This technique of giving expression to the line and leaving blank spaces so that the entire surface of the painting is not filled, which engages the viewer’s imagination, is one that holds an important place not only in traditional paintings of China and Japan, but also in sketches in Western drawings. Takahata has attempt to bring this technique to animation. 

The first time I watched this film was last year in Film Analysis and Aesthetics class.  I thought it was very captivating so I wanted to talk about it. I appreciate the hand-drawn animation, it was very memorable to me. 

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