The stories of Terramare
On Friday 20 April, I racconti di Terramare, the latest animated film produced by the Ghibli studio, was released in cinemas; signed by Goro Miyazaki, son of the best known Hayao Miyazaki, author of masterpieces such as The enchanted city, Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke and many others.
From the beginning of the story, the viewer is pushed into a world of medieval resonances, animated by magic, by spells and dark omens. The story opens in fact against the backdrop of a stormy sea and a leaden sky, above which an unprecedented episode takes place: two mighty dragons have crossed the borders of the land of the East and are devouring each other. it means that the light underlying the cosmic equilibrium is being extinguished with catastrophic consequences. The same deadly enmity between the two dragons symbolizes the breaking of harmony in the relations between men. It is no coincidence that Arren, Prince of Enland, in the grip of the demon of his anxieties, kills the king, his father, and after having stolen the ancient sword (forged with ancient magic) runs away, overwhelmed by the fear of his shadow. During the journey the boy meets a magician, Sparrowhawk, who supports Arren on his journey and protects him from many dangers. Thus the young man sees opening up around him a world suffocated by material and moral degradation, dominated by the disturbing magic of Aracner: an ambiguous and evil magician; eager to possess immortality.
But the decisive experience will be the one that the prince will undertake along the darkest paths of his self, rediscovering the authentic value of existence with the help of the Archmage Sparrowhawk, the care of Tenar and the fortitude of Therru. The latter in particular, by revealing to Arren the intimate secret of life, that is love as a mutual gift, will restore hope and self-confidence: the only viable way of salvation.
Based on the novel by Ursula K. Le Guin The Tales of Terramare deals with themes of strong impact. Among these, the importance of life as a precious and irreplaceable gift should be emphasized; the man-nature relationship: the thirst for power pushes men to destructively dominate the surrounding environment, breaking its delicate balance; the moral degradation that sustains relationships between men based on violence and oppression; the fear of old age and infirmity, which can degenerate into the most inhuman of follies. However, it must be pointed out that the thread of the story often gets tangled, making certain fundamental passages uncertain. For example: why is the possession of the magic sword so important to Arren that he sacrifices his father's life? Who Therru really is is not explicitly revealed, at least it can be guessed ...
While on a technical level the comparison with the animations of Miyazaki father is inevitable, given the not inconsiderable similarities that exist, especially in the style and narrative clichés. In particular the characterization of the protagonists, so similar to the famous characters of Heidi,
Conan and Lana,
The Mononoche Princess. However, some elements of originality are not lacking; among these the stylization, grotesquely noir, of the magician Arachne stands out: feminine in appearance (despite being a decrepit old man) and intimately possessed by an evil so deep that it cannot be converted into good (as often happens in Hayao's feature films: remember the witch of the Landes de, Howl's Moving Castle?). Finally, the extremely suggestive backgrounds (especially the sea view, the golden sunsets) and the landscapes, made with care and attention to detail, deserve a positive judgment. Nevertheless, The Tales of Terramare does not enjoy the same genius with which The Enchanted City or Howl's Moving Castle are forged. It still remains to be considered that this is Goro Miyazaki's first work; a respectable animation that is worth going to the cinema, although the vision of some sequences is not really advisable for children.
by Helga Corpino
|April 20, 2007
The stories of Terramare are copyright Studio Ghibli, Lucky Red and those entitled to them and are used here exclusively for cognitive and informative purposes.