Some movies are equally as much fun to hear as they are to watch.
Last weekend, I went to see
, an animated movie by director Hayao Miyazaki. Here’s the trailer, but it doesn’t really do justice to this beautiful, dreamy film.
Miyazaki and the film’s composer Joe Hisaishi use references to the music of Debussy and Wagner to great effect in Ponyo.
A little fish who becomes a little girl is given the name of “Ponyo” by her new friend Sosuke. But what was she called at home? Brünnhilde. Brünnhilde – the Valkyrie who defied her father’s will for love.
When Brünnhilde/Ponyo escapes her powerful father’s domain with assistance of her many sisters, the music that accompanies them as they traverse the waves sounds an awful lot like the Ride of the Valkyries.
So inside this Little Mermaid-esque tale, there’s just a little bit of the Ring Cycle.
These Wagnerian moments contrast with music that calls to mind a composer who both admired and resisted Wagner’s music: French symbolist Claude Debussy.
Katsushika Hokusai. The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. Hakone Museum, Japan.