Challenging Lutgendorf's Ideas Within His Article Through Hayao Miyazaki's Film, Spirited Away

2045 words - 9 pages

Intro: The discourse of film is a questionable field of study in its own respect. To say whether a film is influence or not by another medium is a problematic area as there are many factors to account for which can influence an artist’s project. In Philip Lutgendorf’s article, Is There An Indian Way of Filmmaking? (2006), he attempts to suggest how texts from the Indian cultural heritage could be used for the discourse of both Indian cinema as well as to the study of cinema itself, which justifies discussion. This essay will attempt to challenge Lutgendorf’s ideas within his article through Hayao Miyazaki’s film, Spirited Away (2001) through the discussion of manga/animae origin, Japanese mythology, and genre hybridity.
Plot Summary: Spirited Away introduces the protagonist of the film, a little girl named Chihiro in the back seat of her parent’s car. Chihiro and her family are driving to their new house located in the Japanese country side. However, Chihiro takes a wrong turn and ends up at an entrance to a tunnel. The family then explores this tunnel, and finds themselves on the other side of the tunnel where they discover an abandoned amusement park. Chihiro’s parents then follow the smell of food, and begin to eat the food. Chihiro then discovers that her parents have turned into pigs and that she is in the middle of town which is inhabited by spirits, demons and magical beings. Chihiro manages to find a job at a bath house owned by a witch named Yubaba in order for her to survive in this new world, and to save her parents from their cursed position.
Historical Context: Similar to the colonisation of India, Japan underwent colonisation after the nations defeat in WWII, and fell under the American hegemonic power and occupation. This led Japan to lose their sense of culture and history because of the occupation of American and its influence it had over japan such as the introduction to American films, cartoons, sports and comics. It was during this period the Artist Osamu Tezuka (1928 – 1989) revived the Japanese cultural practice of art through the first commercially successful manga called New Treasure Island (1947). Manga literally translates to “informal drawings” or “impromptu sketches”, and are the Japanese equivalent to comic books. “New Treasure Island featured many western influences such as the use of big eyes, which is noticeable in Walt Disney’s work. Ultimately, Tezuka laid the foundations for modern manga. Because of manga’s large popularity, it went onto the filmic medium known as animae. Like manga and its early development, animae has had help in its creative development. The large sum of aid in the growth of animae was western influences in cartooning, such as Walt Disney, as well as literature from works from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland (1865) and L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900). Spirited Away contains influences of both Alice in Wonderland as well as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz since both...

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