Sunday, May 8, 2016

When Marnie Was There --Review by the Village Elliot

I took my Mother to the Little Art Theater in Yellow Springs for a special shoing of "When Marnie Was There, " which they say is the last great cartoon from this generation of Studio Ghibli, which is the most famous creator of Anime movies in Japan. It is one of the most fantastic movies I have ever seen, never mind that it is a cartoon. In America, you could absolutely not make a movie like this. How can you have a movie with no sex, no romance, no violence, no guns, and no jokes and expect people to watch? It just can not happen. But Ghibli made an incredible movie. It is first of all unbelievably beautifully constructed with scenery from Japan that makes me long to return to that beautiful country. In some ways the cartoon is actually even more real than live film. The colors are brilliant and glorious, and the art is sensitive and gorgeous. In some ways, I think Japanese people like to see themselves as having some closer resemblance to European people, while nevetheless maintaining their cultural identity, and this comes into play in this movie both directly as well as indirectly as a form of artistic expression. "When Marnie was There" tells the story of an adolescent Japanese girl named Anna who is sent to the countryside to regain her health, and she meets a beautiful young European girl named Marnie, a few years older than herself, who lives in a mansion that appears to be abandoned at times. Marnie is from a wealthy family and is rich, outgoing and beautiful, all the things that Anna is not. Anna is so impressed by Marnie that Anna begins to doubt whether she even can be real. Is Marnie simply a figment of her imagination? It's partly a story of coming of age, but it is also an intricate Mystery movie, almost like the Twilight Zone in some respects. I will confess that I am a big softie and often cry at movies including Kung Fu Panda and Despicable me. I'm afraid the Little Art Theater may have suffered water damage for this engagement, as I was not the only one in tears.

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