An Evening at the Movies
H&D Partners with the Nickelodeon Theater in Presenting the Acclaimed Anime Film
by SCOTT SIMMONS
If you're local to our base of operations in Columbia, South Carolina, this is a tidbit you don't want to miss:
The Nickelodeon Theater downtown is bringing the acclaimed Japanese anime film PRINCESS MONONOKE to town for a 4-day run. MONONOKE will show twice daily from Friday, May 5, through Monday, May 8. Showtimes are 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. There will also be a special 3:00 p.m. matinee on Saturday, May 6, and Sunday, May 7.
What's more, Heroes & Dragons will be hosting a special Community Film Forum discussion after the 3:00 p.m. showing on Sunday, May 7. I'll be on hand to stimulate discussion and hear what audiences outside of the anime/ comic-book/ gaming "in the know" crowd think of the film. If you don't have plans for this Sunday afternoon, I'd love to see you there. (That's an official invitation to you.)
The English version of PRINCESS MONONOKE features an English translation by Neil Gaiman and the voice talents of Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Billy Bob Thornton, Gillian Anderson, Minnie Driver, and Jada Pinkett-Smith.
PRINCESS MONONOKE was originally released in Japan under the title MONONOKE HIME, where it was the highest-grossing box-office film in Japanese history until TITANIC opened later in the same year. The film that had previously held the record was PORCO ROSSO, an earlier animated feature by MONONOKE director Hayao Miyazaki. (This should tell you something about the differences between Japanese and American attitudes toward animation; in the U.S., such a feat would be impossible once, much less twice.)
Miyazaki is best known for his anime films NAUSICAń OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND and MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO and is frequently cited as an influence on American animators, particularly at Disney.
With PRINCESS MONONOKE, he has garnered more attention and generated more excitement for anime outside Japan than any film since 1995's GHOST IN THE SHELL. Before that, Americans would be lucky if they could name a single anime film -- and the film they named would invariably be AKIRA, Katsuhiro Otomo's post-apocalyptic coming-of-age story that is now 15 years old.
Today, increased interest among comics readers and the youth culture at large is bringing anime more and more to the attention of American audiences. For the first time, we are experiencing styles of art and storytelling that have developed almost completely independently of their American counterparts. While the influence of Tex Avery and Walt Disnery is there, it's not the dominating motif, as it has been in American animation.
Our determined ignorance of this form has allowed it to grow and develop into something that seems truly foreign to American sensibilities. At the same time, the logic of its conventions is elegant and intuitive -- easy for the uninitiated to grasp. As a result, the world of anime is frequently strange and wondrous, even compelling, in a manner that suits the fantasy genre it has whole-heartedly embraced.
Whether you're an aficionado of anime or a complete newcomer to the world of animation, consider this my official invitation to the world of Hayao Miyazaki. It's a world of courage, immediacy, and breath-taking beauty. And you can visit it with us at the Nickelodeon Theater. Please do.
PRINCESS MONONOKE will show at the Nickelodeon Theater downtown (937 Sumter Street) from May 5 to 8.
Join us for a special Community Film Forum after the 3:00 showing on Sunday, May 7. We'd love to see you there.