THANK YOU, COME AGAIN!
Kiki's Delivery Service features it perhaps more than other movies, but Howl's Moving Castle uses mobility almost constantly to indicate change, transience, lack of predictability.
The train ride near the end of Spirited Away is, by contrast, a border-marker between fear and uncertainty on the one hand and resolution and salvation on the other.
And, quite likely, the most significant part of the movie.
[Totoro: the eponymatic character in My Neighbor Totoro, who is a large furry forest creature that befriends two children. Kiki's Delivery Service: a movie about a teenage witch achieving self-confidence. Howl's Moving Castle features a young lady transformed to an old woman by magic, which, remarkably, gives her greater individual freedom. Spirited Away is a tale about a dragon, a little girl, and a witch in a bath house, and is quite the most lavish of Miyazaki's movies, a must see for the visual experience alone; dark, gorgeous, and thematically rich.]
It should be noted that Miyazaki almost always features a strong female as the main character. Men, in many cases, are static in his art; the women are the individuals doing things, having significant experiences, going places.
The story revolves around the heroine, and she is seldom still.
Quiet, yes. But it is silence with a point, not inaction.
These past few weeks the tourists have thronged the usual venues in San Francisco, and as was to be expected the Cablecars have not escaped their freneticism. Normally, when I take the trolley up Nob Hill, it is mostly local people heading home. All of July it has been crowded with the foreign element heading back to the Holiday Inn, anxious to get inside.
As well as those who ride just so that they can say that they have done so.
They are not pensive or expectant. Change is not part of the programme. The journey is predictable and barely experienced, the destination lacks significance. There is a masculinity about the enterprise which is almost competitive, and nearly pointless.
Strong people sitting quietly, with purpose and a place to go, do not feature.
Only late at night, when all the outsiders are warm in their standardized hotel beds and filled with pizza, does the scene shift to dreamscapes with pensive and expectant people doing things and going somewhere.
Friendly trolls in dreamy solitude.
Changes are in the air.
There are fabulous imaginary creatures on the cablecar.
But such 'people' always avoid the tourists.
That's why they travel at night.
Visitors pay six dollars per ride, one way, or they purchase an all-day ticket for fourteen dollars.
Residents often have a monthly Muni pass, which allows unlimited transit.
Mythical beasts sneak on without paying.
The California Street Cablecar ties the neighborhood together.
When we go away, this is what we come home to.
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