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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2020

entry arrow10:00 AM | The Film Meme No. 45

[45th of 100]. Sometimes I love a film for the place it evokes. When I dream of paradise, for example, I do not think of sun-kissed beaches dotted with palm trees, blue-green waters all around, the sky a clear azure. [You could chalk up that indifference to me growing up an island boy where this was not paradise, it was -- and is -- just my regular, ordinary neighborhood.] My idea of paradise has a name: Koriko, the setting for Studio Ghibli's perfectly realized tale of a girl witch coming of age, and coming into her powers, complete with flying broom and talking cat. She stumbles upon Koriko, an island city patterned after Stockholm and Visby in Sweden, and decides to stay in the city to practice whatever witchcraft skill she develops, mostly because, like us, she has fallen for Koriko's charms. And what's not to like about a place teeming with Romanesque architecture, and trees and parks, and streetcars? But the way Hayao Miyazaki has captured it makes you believe that a good story can be enormously strengthened if it has a strong sense of place. I think this is a major reason why I return to this film now and again, to behold how Miyazaki can create a colourful, beautiful, pulsating place with the medium of animation -- and I realize all of his films have this sheer quality of "place-sense" [the jungles of Princess Mononoke, the fantastical spa of Spirited Away, the castle in the sky in Laputa, the farmhouse in My Neighbour Totoro, the safflower fields in Only Yesterday] that is very much a part of the appeal of Studio Ghibli's catalogue. Kiki's story also charms, of course, and it is always refreshing to behold a story where the conflict does not come with a seething antagonist [perhaps an evil witch out to usurp Kiki's place!] but is channeled through a narrative of finding your place, finding your strength, and staying true to who you are. What's the film?

For the introduction to this meme, read here.

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