TCA Big Screen Wednesday (September 21) at 7 p.m.
Rated G for the general public.
This beautifully directed animated production by master filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki remains one of his most memorable for its candid depiction of childhood.
It’s one of those movies that’s hard to adequately describe, because words never seem to quite capture the intangible nature of what it’s like to watch it for the first time. What’s striking, however, is how the film ostensibly avoids the cunning cynicism and otherworldly attitudes that seem pervasive when it comes to portraying children in Western film and television.
The innocence of childhood in this Miyazaki film, and truly like many of his others, is as integral as nature, never forced, never blatantly used for commercial purposes. This is integral to the painstakingly visualized art of the backgrounds and sets.
The film is simply about two little girls, 4-year-old Mei (voiced in the English version by Elle Fanning) and her 10-year-old sister Satsuke (Dakota Fanning, Elle’s real sister) as they move into a house . in the countryside with their father, Professor Kusakabe (Tim Daly) to be near their mother (Lea Salonga), who is recovering from an illness at a nearby hospital.
The girls are thrilled to move into the slightly run-down house they think is haunted. This is mainly because they spot mysterious little soot sprites that gather and hide in the walls and ceiling. This small family is sweet and open because they make sure to meet all their neighbors, especially the elders whom they treat with respect.
A particular neighbor will have a special meaning that they will discover as the story unfolds. He’s the Totoro (Frank Welker), a giant creature that seems to exist in some sort of paranormal world, complete with soot sprites, other magical creatures, and even a “cat bus.” His home is in the nearby forest where other mysterious creatures reside. It’s never presented as scary or weird, even to their father or other people in the neighborhood. They know them as things to respect and even honor.
Undoubtedly, some audiences are aware of a darker take on this story, one that reads a painful narrative into the symbolism of what happens near the end. However, the Studio Ghibli team behind the film were keen to say the interpretation isn’t true and “don’t worry.” Having seen the film several times, I prefer to believe that it is a simple story of innocence and sweet devotion.
Although originally created with Japanese-speaking characters, when the film was acquired by Disney in 2008, the soundtrack was dubbed with familiar American voice actors. Interestingly, Native American actors Zahn McClarnon and David Midthunder, who both appear in “Dark Winds,” are credited with providing “additional voices.”
In addition to being screened as a presentation of the Taos Center for the Arts’ “Monthly Pattern,” which this month is “Teen Spirit,” this film is also available on the HBO-Max online subscription streaming service. .
Also at Taos Community Auditorium
Big screen TCA Tuesday (September 20) at 4 p.m.
Not rated, but contains mature themes.
In this 2021 film by Spanish writer-director Fernando León de Aranoa, the Blancos Básculas factory is where everything has to be in balance at all times. After all, they make scales in all shapes and sizes.
There, seemingly benevolent boss Blanco (Javier Bardem) prepares his workforce for an upcoming inspection by a group visiting local businesses to select one for a prestigious award.
Tensions begin to mount, however, when recently fired employee Jose (Óscar de la Fuente) shows up with his two children and begins to demand reinstatement of his job. When Blanco’s management team refuses, the employee begins a one-man crusade to discredit Blanco and prevent him from winning the coveted award – imdb.com.
It was the Spanish entry for Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards.
In Spanish with English subtitles.
Screenings take place at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets, health restrictions and additional information, call (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.
This week at the movies Mitchell Storyteller 7
Mitchell Storyteller 7 Cinemas
Rated R for strong violence, gore, strong sexual content and graphic nudity.
If you saw Ti West’s “X” horror movie earlier this year, you saw a movie that was shot alongside it. Set in 1979, “X” was about a group of filmmakers who rented a remote cabin to shoot a pornographic film. Things, of course, go horribly wrong. This film is a prequel that follows the character, Pearl (Mia Goth), in the events leading up to this horrific incident.
Trapped on her family’s secluded farm, Pearl must care for her ailing father under the bitter, overbearing watch of her devout mother. Desiring a glamorous life like she’s seen in the movies, Pearl finds her ambitions, temptations and repressions all colliding in this origin story – imdb.com.
Mitchell Storyteller 7 Cinemas
Rated PG-13 for sequences of strong violence, some disturbing elements, thematic content, brief language and partial nudity.
This film from director Gina Prince-Blythewood brings to the screen the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with unprecedented skill and ferocity.
Based on true events, “The Woman King” follows the emotionally epic journey of General Nanisca (Viola Davis) as she trains the next generation of recruits and prepares them for battle against an enemy determined to destroy their way of life. Some things are worth fighting for.
These films are screened at the Mitchell Storyteller 7 Cinemas, 110 Old Talpa Cañon Road. For tickets, schedules and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.