Miyazaki, Takahata and 'The King and the Mockingbird'
On the influence of an essential French film.
Happy Thursday! In this issue of the Animation Obsessive newsletter, we’re looking at how a French feature changed the course of Japanese animation.
The film in question is The King and the Mockingbird (1980), directed by Paul Grimault. Only it didn’t always have that name, or quite the same plot. Grimault’s film began to tour the world in an unfinished form back in 1952. It was called The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep then — and this is the version that took root in Japan.
Its effect on animation there was gigantic. For a time in the ‘60s, it became a near-universal reference point for Japanese animators. Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, and their colleague Yasuo Otsuka, all studied it at Toei Doga. From that point on, it influenced their work.
To understand Studio Ghibli, it’s important to understand Grimault’s film. Today, we’re exploring the how, when and why of its impact. Here we go!
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