Hayao Miyazaki and the Splendor of Nature

Viewing a Hayao Miyazaki (or really any Studio Ghibli film) undoubtedly involves awestruck wonderment at the beautifully hand painted backgrounds. I recently had to watch most of his films again for a research paper, and even though they’re all very familiar to me, I remained captivated as a viewer. Watching his films is like living in a painting for a few hours.

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All gifs courtesy of Studio Ghibli gifs

All of Miyazaki’s films are a visual treat, and always include lush landscapes that celebrate the beauty of the natural world- which are reflective of his own environmental concerns. I admire how he combines the Kurosawa-esque shots of sweeping, dramatic landscapes-

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– with more intimate shots:

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The environments are so immersive, and the fact that they’re entirely created by artists, rather than a set designer, lends them a more magical and fantastic quality, despite their obvious painstaking realism. I guess the realism anchors the more fantastic elements:

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Overall, Miyazaki’s films all reflect a deep appreciation and respect for the natural world, and the importance of preserving it. He’s stated: “For me, the deep forest is connected in some way to the darkness in my heart. I feel that if it is erased, then the darkness in my heart would also disappear, and my existence would grow shallow.”

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