All posts tagged: Film

Ekostories in the medium of film.

Ghibli Only Yesterday Safflower

Nostalgia Distilled: Ghibli’s Only Yesterday

I came across Studio Ghibli’s Only Yesterday (titled Omohide Poro Poro in Japan) at a time of transition in my life. Having just having graduated from school and secured a job in my field, I had hoped that the path forward was secure, certain. The hours were nice and the pay was good, but as time went on I felt a growing dissatisfaction I could not dismiss but could not articulate. Catching the film by chance on television one late night, I connected with the protagonist’s own yearning for something more in life. This resonance spanned the gulf between gender, culture, and life experience; her fictional journey of self-discovery inspired me to reflect honestly on my own life. How does the past shape my present identity? Am I satisfied with the course of my life? Am I courageous enough to pursue what makes me genuinely happy? After seeing the film again this year, I believe Only Yesterday is one of the finest animated films ever made. Quiet, intimate, and poignant, Isao Takahata’s masterpiece contains elements Studio Ghibli …

Brazil Wordle 1

Escape to Happiness and Insanity: Gilliam’s Brazil

Brazil is a mess of a movie in the best possible way. Terry Gilliam’s creation is wildly original and incredibly chaotic, blending elements of comedy and drama into an unforgettable piece of cinema. Visually extravagant and thematically dense, Brazil rewards observant and repeat viewers with a barrage of imagery and subtext ripe for speculation and analysis. A story with almost too much to say, I regard Brazil as one of the most memorable explorations into the absurdities and perils of modern society, and worthy of becoming an Ekostory.

Reconnect 3: Courageous Ekostories

This week’s Reconnect focuses on Ekostories with protagonists who demonstrate courage in non-traditional ways. By expanding their thinking, standing by their principles, and doing things their own way, each of them became emotionally healthier and mentally stronger.  By working on becoming internally sustainable and resilient, they became natural leaders and role models who are capable of igniting the fires of change in the world they live in.

Alone in the Wilderness Wordle

Solitary Man: Alone in the Wilderness

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I was fortunate enough to have access to a great public television network. Its programs sparked my love for cooking, cultivated my love for wacky British humour, and broadened my knowledge base and enthusiasm for science and the natural world. One of the network’s most memorable shows, Alone in the Wilderness, aired frequently during pledge weeks. The documentary revolves around Dick Proenneke, a retired mechanic, carpenter, and handyman, living in solitude at Twin Lakes in Alaska’s Lake Clark National Park. Alone in the Wilderness depicts Proenneke’s first year out in the wilderness in 1968 as he single-handedly builds his log cabin. Most of the colour footage used in the film was shot with a stationary 16mm tripod-mounted camera and accompanied by commentary on his day-to-day experiences. In the film, Proenneke fully embraces the formidable challenges of living alone in the Alaskan wilderness. To be able to live in solitude in such a harsh environment requires all of his considerable skills and life experience, along with an appreciation for the …

Princess Mononoke Hayao Miyazaki's environmental epic

Before Cameron’s Avatar: Princess Mononoke

“In ancient times, the land lay covered in forests, where from ages long past, dwelt the spirits of the gods. Back then, man and beast lived in harmony, but as time went by, most of the great forests were destroyed. Those that remained were guarded by gigantic beasts who owed their allegiances to the Great Forest Spirit, for those were the days of gods and of demons…” – Introduction of Princess Mononoke I consider Princess Mononoke, a film by Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli, to be one of the best environmental movie in history. Inspired by the tumultuous Muromachi era in Japanese history, Princess Mononoke explores the relationship between humans and nature in all its complex and tragic facets. Unlike many other environmental films but like so many of Miyazaki’s works, Mononoke does away with clear-cut dichotomies of good and bad; characters act with understandable motivations. Most of them are capable of change and in some cases, even redemption. The film’s unusual conclusion stresses the need for acceptance, integration, and reconciliation, even in the face of horrifying, …

The Man Who Planted Trees

L’homme qui plantait des arbres: The Man Who Planted Trees

The Man Who Planted Trees is one of my wife’s favourite stories. I was fortunate enough to see the Oscar-winning animated short film with her last year at the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival; I was immediately swept away by the beauty of both movie and message. Although it is a work of fiction, The Man Who Planted Trees is a testament to one man’s ability to bring about hope and happiness for himself and to the world around him.

My Neighbour Totoro Hayao Miyazaki's timeless children film

Children and Nature: My Neighbour Totoro

“Here is a children’s film made for the world we should live in, rather than the one we occupy. A film with no villains. No fight scenes. No evil adults. No fighting between the two kids. No scary monsters. No darkness before the dawn. A world that is benign. A world where if you meet a strange towering creature in the forest, you curl up on its tummy and have a nap.” – Roger Ebert, My Neighbor Totoro review