I told Miyazaki I love the “gratuitous motion” in his films; instead of every movement being dictated by the story, sometimes people will just sit for a moment, or they will sigh, or look in a running stream, or do something extra, not to advance the story but only to give the sense of time and place and who they are.
"We have a word for that in Japanese," he said. "It’s called ma. Emptiness. It’s there intentionally."
Is that like the “pillow words” that separate phrases in Japanese poetry?
"I don’t think it’s like the pillow word." He clapped his hands three or four times. "The time in between my clapping is ma. If you just have non-stop action with no breathing space at all, it’s just busyness, But if you take a moment, then the tension building in the film can grow into a wider dimension. If you just have constant tension at 80 degrees all the time you just get numb.""
“It is easy to cynically declare that wholesomeness is a fragile concept, only possible if protected by others, or that true love can never occur in this era without serious challenges.Even if so, it seems to me that it also ought to be possible to express – in an even stronger, overwhelmingly powerful way - how wonderful the quality of wholesomeness is. In our story there is a boy who loves working with wood. He also plays the violin himself. In the original story his grandfather dealt in antique art, but in the film we transform his attic room into a basement studio and make the grandfather someone whose hobby happens to be repairing old furniture and artwork, and who also occasionally likes to play music. And in the basement studio, the boys dream of making violins starts to take shape.At a time when most children his age are avoiding the future, our young boy is living purposefully, focusing far into the future. So when our young heroine encounters such a boy, what happens? By posing such a question, what might have started out as a very ordinary shojo manga story can, if properly cut and polished, be transformed into something with a very contemporary quality.By carefully preserving the purity of the world of the manga, we will be able to pose the question of what it means to live a full life today. By imparting a sense of ordinary reality to a single, idealized encounter, our film will boldly attempt to sing the praises of life’s beauty.”
— Hayao Miyazaki in his proposal for Whisper of the Heart (Starting Point)
“Miyazaki taps a cigarette from a silver case. The Disney deal suits him, he explains, because he has stuck to his guns. His refusal to grant merchandising rights means that there is no chance of any Nausicaa happy meals or Spirited Away video games. Furthermore, Disney wields no creative control. There is a rumour that when Harvey Weinstein was charged with handling the US release of Princess Mononoke, Miyazaki sent him a samurai sword in the post. Attached to the blade was a stark message: “No cuts.”
The director chortles. “Actually, my producer did that. Although I did go to New York to meet this man, this Harvey Weinstein, and I was bombarded with this aggressive attack, all these demands for cuts.” He smiles. “I defeated him.””
Looks like Miyazaki and his producers are fully aware of the U.S. and Disney’s business of meddling with the works of foreign production.
This is the most beautiful thing I have ever read.