Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Japanese father-daughter movie

Toby writes:
Hello George

Your post of march 19th made me recall one of my favourite movies. I was wondering if you had ever seen, or heard of the children's movie My Neighbor Totoro. It's a Japanese cartoon but was released in the US by Fox. It is somewhere in Roger Ebert's top 100 movies, and here is a link to his review of it.

I won't go into the movie in too much detail, but it a happy children's movie about two girls who live with their dad. They move into a new house and have adventures playing in the garden. The mother is present in the movie, she is just in hospital so she isn't really around, I wont go into it much more, you can look the movie up yourself if you are interested, I would recommend it.

The point(s) I am getting at is, there is a scene where the family are taking a bath, the youngest is scared of the dark and the storm outside, but her dad and her sister act funny to cheer her up so they wont be scared. That scene, while in my mind being a totally natural family scene, is very hard for me to imagine ever seeing happen in a western movie, because as you said in your post (or rather Ebert and Roeper did) "if there is a father usually he is either a meanie, a child abuser, an authoritarian, or some sort of a monster."

The second point I am getting to is that Disney now own the rights to all of that Japanese studios movies, and are gradually releasing them all on DVD and some to cinema. I'm not sure when Totoro is being released, but from what I read, part of their contract is that the movies cannot be cut, edited, or have the music changed (obviously they record the dialog to english and things), so I really wonder how Disney will handle this film, and that scene in particular.

Anyway, I hope you have good luck in court, despite all the odds. And I hope that your children come through relatively unscarred whatever the outcome happens to be.
Thanks. I never heard of the movie, and I'll look for it. It sounds like my daughters would like it.

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