CFS presents Japanese animation film

Rickey Perez

Seldom do I urge people to view Japanese animation films but, in the case of “Princess Mononoke,” I will break from the norm and insist you see this timeless gem. This film is highly regarded in anime circles around the world.

“Princess Mononoke,” directed by Hayao Miyazaki, is a story about consequences, differences, environmental destruction and forgiveness. Lady Eboshi of Irontown and San of the forest are pitted against one another in an epic struggle of mankind versus nature. Ashitaka, an Emishi prince, is thrust into this conflict when he is forced to seek out the forest spirit to cure a life-threatening disease he contracts during battle. Ultimately, Ashitaka takes on the role of mediator between the two conflicting sides.

Miyazaki’s recurring idea in several of his films is the plight of the environment at the hands of destructive humans. His films contain the aesthetic quality of a Disney film, while providing deeper meaning and themes that most Disney films lack. He is considered the grandfather of anime, and many Hollywood insiders admit to using Miyazaki’s works as templates. He is truly gifted, performing the trifecta of screenwriting, drawing and directing. The quality of his work is evident in the fluid detail he puts in many scenes, such as the writhing bloody tentacles of a diseased demon-boar. The fluidity in his work aims to mimic the depth of live-action films.

“Princess Mononoke” was released in Japan in 1997. At the time of its release it had been the highest grossing Japanese film of all time. (The only films to beat its record are James Cameron’s “Titanic,” followed by another of Miyazaki’s films, “Spirited Away,” which has already been shown by the Cultural Film Series.) “Princess Mononoke” was translated into English without deviating from Miyazaki’s original vision. It was released in the United States in 1999 with notable actors such as Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson, Minnie Driver, Billy Bob Thornton and Jada Pinkett Smith lending their voices to the film. The New York Post has called “Princess Mononoke” “The ‘Star Wars’ of animated features!”

“Princess Mononoke,” part of the Spring 2007 Cultural Film and Lecture Series with the theme “Forgiveness,” will be screened four times in the Connelly Center Cinema: Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 3:30 and 7 p.m. and Monday at 7 p.m. Admission is $3.50 for students with ID and $5 for everyone else. The Monday showing only will feature speaker Joe Ansolabehere who will provide an introduction to the film and lead a discussion afterward. Ansolabehere is a Hollywood professional who has previously worked as a producer and writer on animation television shows such as “Hey Arnold!” and “Recess: School’s Out.” In addition, Ansolabehere has written episodes for popular animated shows like “Rugrats” and “Lilo & Stitch: The Series.”

For more information, contact the communication department at x9-4750 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or consult the CFS Web page: