Make More Children’s Movies Like My Neighbor Totoro, Please
Chelsea Martin in Conversation with Mychal Denzel Smith on the Open Form Podcast
Welcome to Open Form, a weekly film podcast hosted by award-winning writer Mychal Denzel Smith. Each week, a different author chooses a movie: a movie they love, a movie they hate, a movie they hate to love. Something nostalgic from their childhood. A brand-new obsession. Something they’ve been dying to talk about for ages and their friends are constantly annoyed by them bringing it up.
In this episode of Open Form, Mychal talks to Chelsea Martin (Tell Me I’m an Artist) about the 1988 film My Neighbor Totoro, directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
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From the episode:
Chelsea: My Neighbor Totoro seems so respectful of the viewers. It allows you to have your own thoughts, bring your own experiences to it and your own ways of appreciating it. And you’re not bombarded with jokes and cuts and action to distract you or keep you paying attention. It just feels more like a conversation with the audience rather than pushing things onto them or having a moral message.
Mychal: Yeah, that’s the other thing about children’s stuff—it’s a morality play. There’s some lesson that needs to be taught, that children need to go forward in life. My Neighbor Totoro feels like, your imagination is the thing. Just carry that with you.
Chelsea: And caring about each other. And trying to see the best in the world.
Chelsea Martin is the author of the essay collection Caca Dolce and the novella Mickey, among other books. She lives in Spokane, WA with her husband and child.