I have often been asked where my favorite place to hang out is, and frankly, there is a high chance that you will run into me in any cinema during weekends. I am a movie-lover, and I like movies so much to a point where I had thought of becoming a director or at least a movie critic when I was young. Movies entertain me and allow me to escape the world for an hour or so. Films are a picture passage onto worlds that never exist.
While some people enjoy nestling comfortably at home watching a DVD to kill time, watching a film is almost like a sacred activity to me which the full experience can only be enjoyed in a dark, quiet and secluded movie theater. I want to shut down all connections to the outside world, allow myself to feel vulnerable and explore the story and adventure that was prepared for me by the film-makers. Nothing thrills and contents me more than a great movie and that leaves you thinking, puzzled, crying or determined even after you have left the theater.
It is no exaggeration to say that Studio Ghibli’s movies have significantly altered my life and made me who I am right now. Studio Ghibli is a world-renowned Japanese animation film studio best known for its anime feature films that include My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and many others. I have selected three of my absolute favorites to share with you.
This movie has been listed as one of the saddest movies of all time, and it is virtually impossible not shedding a few tears while watching it. This heart-wrenching story was set in Japan during the final months of the Second World War and it’s critically acclaimed for its anti-war messages. Two siblings, Seita and Setsuko, desperately struggled to survive after some tragic events had happened to their family. I vividly remember that I was only eight years old when I first watched this movie, and it was a striking experience. I was profoundly overwhelmed by the sorrowful incidents that happened to those two characters, and I couldn’t help but weep for hours after the movie was finished. This movie resonates strongly in my heart and I would recommend it to everyone. It makes you realize how fortunate you are to just have enough food and your family with you. Watching this movie can be a tough yet satisfying experience for sure.
Even if you haven’t watched it before, you must have heard of it somewhere as it is one of the highest grossing movies both in Japan and globally. It is about a melancholy 10-year-old girl Chihiro wandering into a world full of different spirits and her parents were turned into pigs by a powerful and evil witch called Zeniba. Chihiro is forced to work in the bathhouse run by Zeniba while she patiently awaits a chance to save her parents. Watching this movie the first time is guaranteed to be enjoyable and I am deeply impressed by the creative and whimsical world created by the director. Compared to Grave of the fireflies, this one has more of an adventure story which is both thrilling and affectively engaging. I was moved to see the changes in Chihiro, turning from a grumpy kid into a brave little girl. The movie can be eerie at first but after all the mysteries of the spirits have been unveiled, the movie turns into a heart-warming and funny fairytale. It’s undoubtedly a masterpiece.
This movie appears to appeal only to young kids but I am sure that people of all ages can enjoy this movie as much as I did. I was already fifteen or sixteen when I watched it yet I completely understood why it has been one of the most popular anime ever. It is the most light-hearted movie out of the three but it touches me just like the other two. I was moved by the innocence of the little sister Mei and let’s just say “Totoro”, the forest spirit, is probably the cutest anime characters I have ever seen (well, besides Mimikyu from PokemonJ). The sisters share some magical adventures with Totoro, and those adventures are beyond your imagination. And, I am sure that the theme song is going to be stuck in your head for days, just like what “Frozen” did to all of us!