Who is the Best Film Maker in the World Today?

Saturday, 23 January 2010, 11:52 | Category : Uncategorized
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That, in my humble opinion, is Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki mines all human myths, all genres, even our dreams. His peaceful flooded landscapes–Spirited Away, Ponyo–are the landscapes of the physical soul, where we can see the prehistoric fish of our own dreadful and beautiful submarine powers swimming calmly below the surface of consciousness. One third of our lives is lived below that surface anyway–the flooded landscape is everyday reality seen truly. Powerful and charming as Avatar is, Cameron’s philosophical imagination as regards nature, the environment, and the human role as technologist and maker is utterly outdone by Miyazaki’s The Princess Mononoke. Howl’s Moving Castle is as sophisticated a study of human sexual relationships, aging, war, and spiritual power as any current mainstream novel. And the animation is great art, amazingly fabricated out of the most vulgar materials of anime and children’s stories.

It’s very interesting that the best art of our time is very often in genres regarded by our elites as childish. What is going on?

12 Comments for “Who is the Best Film Maker in the World Today?”

  1. 1julie

    thank you, i couldn’t agree with you more! i have brought his name up repeatedly over the years and so many people either don’t know him or only know of his most recent films. every film is layered so deeply, so beautifully – it is sheer brilliance, imagination and creativity (not to mention perfect technical execution) brought to life.

  2. 2John

    I was disappointed with Ponyo. It had all the right ingredients, but the pacing was poor, the stakes were unclear and the love test was a huge anticlimax. I agree generally about Miyazaki, though.

  3. 3Sailor Venus

    “It’s very interesting that the best art of our time is very often in genres regarded by our elites as childish. What is going on?”

    Good question. I don’t know the answer, but I am struck by the vitality and creativity of millennial generation sub-culture that has arisen in the obscure world of the image boards, notably 4chan.

    In 2003 15-year old moot (after seven years no one knows his real name)imported the image board format of Japan’s 2chan invented to facilitate the posting and discussion of anime images.

    At 4chan anime met other subcultural streams of gaming, graphic novels, cyberpunk, texting, science fiction and especially a classic Heinlein libertarianism, Pokemon and other streams that goes by the name of Anonymous culture.

    It is entirely the creation of millennials all of them under the age of 30. It has yet to create great works of art, but it is raising up a generation of artists – the de rigueur skills are photoshoppingvi, audio mashups, and video making, which are being mastered by 15-year olds, in the creation of linguistic and visual memes.

    Anonymous has created a remarkable free speech and human rights movement in the form of a world-wide movement to “dismantle the Church of Scientology in its present form.” How cheeky!

    An obscure anime-born youth sub-culture takes on a Mafia-like, powerful, and feared cult boldly goes where no one has dared to go, impolitely not only criticizing a religion and ridiculing it into the ground, but taking on a totalitarian power structure that suppresses free speech at will and vowing to destroy it. Not polite at all.

    The culture is radically libertarian and egalitarian, and represents the return of the repressed in the tyranny of political correctness under which millennials have been educated. PC sacred cows are slaughtered with glee.

    Hilarity and martial spirit set this culture at odds with elitist culture both right and left. It has no tolerance for exaggerated self importance and regularly beat it out of each other. Satire, parody, ridicule are the art forms of opposition with endemic hilarity.

    Amid this post-structuralist glee classical values are being transmitted under the image of the noble warrior. The heroes are the pwners.

    It is telling that the Anonymous memes that have spread to general internet culture are epic win, epic fail, and LOL. Heroes of this culture are Leonidas of Sparta and Guy Fawkes, both of whom laughed in the faces of tyrants of overwhelming state power. Take that lefties.

    Anons have zero tolerance for social conservative restrictions on free speech and sexual rigidities with its attendant pieties and hypocrisies. Take that righties.

    The culture is radically centrist. It does not avoid the ineluctable loneliness of the individual. It accepts it with illumination of art like that of Mizaki with something like stilled awe, as in awesome.

    The children of Chance Van Riebeck are carrying on the great tradition listening to and creating anew the great epic.

  4. 4Frederick Turner

    Brava Sailor Venus! I’m obviously going to have to educate myself about Anonymous. This is the sort of thing I’ve been hoping would happen. BTW, the first literary club I ever started was when I was in college at Oxford, back in the days of stone axes. It was called the Anonymous Society.

  5. 5Non-anon

    That is an incredibly romanticized view of Anonymous. I don’t feel one way or another about Anonymous in general, but 4chan and 2chan aren’t exactly havens of artistic and creative release. Though, yes, 4chan (not necessarily Anonymous, but whether the two are the same is up for debate) has had a huge impact on internet culture. Whether it will have any lasting impact on the culture at large remains to be seen.

    Anyway, I love Hayao Miyazaki. I do not hesitate to put him under the category of “Greatest Filmmakers of All Time.”

  6. 6John

    Apparently when Harvey Weinstein wanted to edit Princess Mononoke to make it more marketable in the States, Studio Ghibli sent him a katana and two word note that said, “No cuts.”

  7. 7Frederick Turner

    And you can bet that the cuts Weinstein wanted were the bits that pointed out that industrialization liberated women. There’s an element of Green ideology that is, I suspect, nostalgia for a patriarchy.

  8. 8Lia Keyes

    “The best art of our time is in genres described as childish” because children will not accept any less than the truth, and stories that tell the truth about the world we live in are always the most satisfying.

  9. 9Michael Banks

    To SAILOR VENUS and FRED TURNER. There is a distinguished artist that I came across in 4chan (unfortunately as he was anonymous I couldn’t get his name) who has and is revolutionizing the visual medium of art. His inspirations clearly stem from the playgrounds of West Philadelphia, where I presume he was born and raised. A more in-depth look at his earlier work shows that he suffered through certain tumultuous situation that probably stemmed from ruffians in his neighborhood, people who were obviously up to no good. I firmly believe that his works from this time were the most influential, however he has digressed from his profound work, which seems to stem from a possible relocation to an upper-middle class neighborhood in, I’m assuming, Southern California. I revere his portrait titled “Dice in a Mirror” as his single greatest to date.
    Many of us refer to him as The Prince.

  10. 10brian miller

    intriguing…i will definitley follow through with a viewing…perhaps this is why we are to be as children…

  11. 11Bill Benzon

    I just now found out about this modest little post that makes a large claim, one I’m sympathetic to. I’ve written a number of posts about Miyazaki:

    http://new-savanna.blogspot.com/search/label/Miyazaki

    More generally, I think some of the best contemporary story-telling is being done in animation.

    If you haven’t seen it, check out Sita Sings the Blues, a feature-length film by Nina Paley, who wrote, designed, animated, directed, and produced it. Astounding. Just google the name and you’ll find Nina’s site, where you can download the whole film, for free — though she’ll gladly take donations. I’ve written quite a bit about her film, and have several interviews with her:

    http://new-savanna.blogspot.com/p/sita-chronicles.html

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