mjj (flemmings) wrote,
mjj
flemmings

So I was sitting the H-tachi last night and their dad said You ever seen The Triplets of Belleville? and I said no because you have to pull my fingernails out to get me into a movie theatre or even in front of my TV, and he said Well we've rented it you should have a look at it I think you'd like it. And because I knew he'd ask me what I thought of it when they got back I watched it instead of reading about power intrigues and evil-eyed characters in the time of Himiko.

Himiko as seen by Yamagishi Ryouko is uncanny, but nothing like *this*. Western anime and manga (I can't call them cartoons and comics because they aren't, really) give me hang-overs, like the aftermath of a very vivid dream that colours the day following, surreal and always on the edge of kimochi warui, which of course is what Triplets is like as a viewing experience. Yes, I liked those early references to what, actually, is part of my family past, 20's France and Josephine Baker and jazz, because my mother as a girl encountered it all on trips home and I heard about it from her and saw it in the photographs of Deauville and wherever they spent the summers; and I liked the surreal version of the world because I like surrealism; but it's all still unchancy and obscurely nightmarish, as the deep-sea creatures of the unconscious are likely to be when seen on land and in the light of day. (And of course I then did have one of those dramatic involved dreams last night which colours the next day etc etc.) Triplets affected me as the early Betty Boop cartoons did when I was seven. 'There's something happening here and I don't know what it is but I don't think I like it so don't look too closely.'

Beside her, Joyce looks innocent as grass- Japanese anime in comparison is a sunny afternoon. Which is not a fair comparison, of course, because the anime I see is indeed intended for kids. The parallel might be some of the weirder shounen manga that's ugly and nasty and strange and not trying to be anything else. That series where everyone looked like a badly drawn Lynda Barry character and had snot flowing out of their noses, for instance.

I should mention the one thing that struck me which was the total lack of pathos in the thing. Mama, or Grandmama, whichever she is, never feels sorry for herself and is never presented as someone we should feel sorry for. Disney and the general run of anime could not have passed up that opportunity, but our indomitable obasan just goes on being indomitable in a dry-eyed way. These things happen. Admirable, one has to say, even if a bit terrifying all in all. (That knitting- how can one not think of Mme Lafarge? And the triplets themselves- how can one not think of Macbeth's witches, and the Parcae that lie behind them? Which would inspire another meditation on how yer average Elizabethan playwright going about his daily business can quite unintentionally become part of the cultural mythos; and how in the Japanese mythos three old women have no meaning but one does, is why Kurosawa turned Macbeth's witches into Throne of Blood's single onibaba.)
Tags: anime, film, manga_04
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