Spirited Away: An Experience

Words by Oliver Morris

So I have this friend who’s kinda pretentious. He reads multiple translations of Nietzsche, he has aphorisms that he’s yet to write the book for, and he’s a hare’s breadth from wearing an ascot unironically. One day he sent me a picture of a t-shirt which in turn had an image of a strange masked man, or perhaps a strange masked shadow, offering me nuggets of gold.

I had no idea what I was looking at. He explained that it was from ‘Spirited Away’, I said ‘What’s ‘Spirited Away’? to which he promptly organised an afternoon for us to watch it. He sat me down on his beaten up couch, handed me a weird orange flavoured beer, and set put on the original dub with English subtitles.

This was three months ago.

I find it very difficult to explain the stuff that happened in between Chihiro clutching dying flowers to her chest and the moment I was re-awoken by the DVD title screen. Something… happened in the middle. I’ve never been able to place it. I wasn’t just watching Chihiro, I was her in a sense. Everytime Chihiro was fearful, tearful, greatful or brave, I was too.

Everytime she held her breath or held her own, I did too.  And as one, we were thrust into this adventure, overwelmed by this adventure and accepted this adventure. There are moments where I was not in a godforsaken hole in East Hill, drinking warm beer and being subject to derisive analysis by the less insightful guest, and I was there. I was  in the tunnel, on the bridge, in the baths, on the platform or the train. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t animated, or didn’t speak the language. I was there.

I highly recommend anyone who’s never watched ‘Spirited Away’ to turn off their internet, their phone, find a quiet place and just experience it. When the credits finally came to a close, I was catatonic.I had nothing to say, to express because it was all too real, all too quick, and all too much. All I could do was turn to my friend, who had offered me this couch, this beer and this whole different world and say ‘Thank You’.

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Life From Clay – Part II

Words by Benjamin Pinsent

Another Auteur would be Jan Švankmajer; using a mix of live actors and puppets he created the mastifle Alice (1988) a reimagining of Alice in Wonderland using things found in the attic to create a very different wonderland to that of Disney.

Nick Park, the creator of Wallace and Gromit as well as Creature Comforts and head of Aardman studios, is probably the most well know purveyor of stop motion animation.

So, to conclude, although stopmotion animation is only used rarely, there have been some major releases and talents attached to these projects over the last few years. Tim Burton released Corpse Bride (2005) as a sort of follow up to his collaboration with Henry Selik (director of Coraline) on Nightmare before Christmas.

Wes Anderson, king of the left of the dial films, adapted Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox (2009) using animations kryptonite, fur, creating a very charming and stylised world where Bill Murrey as Badger fights George Clooney’s Fox.

September 14th was the date Laika released their next project to the UK, ParaNorman. Based around a outsider, ParaNorman has been gaining a buzz around it partly due to the studio attached but now due to the positive reviews that it has been gaining since release.

Tim Burton, not to be outdone, will retort in 2013 with an adaptation of his classic short, Frankenweenie, the tale of a young boy so distraught with the death of his dog he decides to bring it back to life.

And Finally Charlie Kaufman will be releasing a short film Anomalisa having collaborated with Starburn Industries sometime in the future (the people behind adult swim shows like Moral Oral and Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole).

This art form does not deserve to have been cast aside as it has, though CGI animation is easier and less time consuming, most films lack that hand made quality that studio’s like Laika and Aardman have. The charm of these movies is that sometimes the animation is not as smooth as you would like it to be and that you can see thumb prints on Wallace’s face at times. It shows that people took the time to make a piece of art, the effort is what makes these films special.

One to Watch – Lucy Rose

Words by Naomi Jeffreys

The Rabbit Film believes in championing new artists, performers, directors, producers and singers. Music is an integral part of society and films, and a musical artist who is on the cusp of something great, is Lucy Rose.

If you haven’t heard of this name, I guarantee you will do in two weeks time, when her debut album, Like I Used To is set to be released. Lucy Rose is a real talent within the music world, she has an organic fan base, from where she gigged around London from the age of eighteen, she has thousands of Twitter followers and an equal amount on the social network Facebook.

She has been linked with Indie rock band, Bombay Bicycle Club and has featured in many an album, from there very early days, such as Flaws and in the song, Lights out Words Gone.

The Rabbit Film is mad about this artist and if you can listen to her music, or, indeed listen to her album. As we said, real talent is often hard to find in the music world, and her raw vocals, intricate drum rhythms and bare acoustic guitar. Lucy Rose is one to watch.