Topics on environmental protection are mostly heavy. The earth has been polluted, its air, water and land. People are suffering from disasters resulting from climate change or pollution. Animals and plants are living harder lives are on the edge of extinction.
Even movies with the topic on environmental issues are heavy. There are documentaries which we can barely see without feeling sorry and shocked, like The Cove, and Chasing Ice; there are science fictions envisioning a world with deadful environment, like The Day After Tomorrow and Silent Running.
But there is one Japanese movie director, whose works advocates environmental protection in a lighter way. His name is Hayao Miyazaki, a movie director as well as an animator and a few other roles.
His most well-known works include Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky, Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, etc. Among his early filmographies, there was one called Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
The film was written and released in Japan in the 1980s and Miyazaki had expressed his concerns in environment issues as early as that.
The story starts with a group of people walking in desert, finding that one more village had been dead and occupied by mutant giant insects. Human were not able to breathe the air there. While people in the world thought of those insects as enemies, the young princess of the Valley of the Wind, Nausicaa, believed that they should be protected. When the Valley of the Wind got involved into war due to an accident, Nausicaa was kidnapped and coincidently fell to the underground of forests. There was fresh air and clean water. Nausicaa realized that the insects were actually protecting this land from human activities. In the meantime, war was started towards the giant insects and Nausicaa calmed down the giant insects on her own. She lost her life and regained it with the help from the insects.
There are multi lessens in this film, that it reminds us that polluted environment could lead to the extinction of human ourselves in the end and that human and animals should coexist at peace.
Nausicaa is a film with the theme of man and nature. Miyazaki’s later works, featuring on other themes, contain environment issues more or less. Spirited Away mainly tells how people waste food and get punished; Princess Mononoke warns man’s endless thirst for resources from nature. Noteworthy is that nature in Miyazaki’s animations are always full of power. It heals polluted itself and expresses anger in its resistence of man’s behavior.
Some people say that Miyazaki’s films are mostly animations and fit for children. However, profound meanings hidden in the films are more educative to adults, who often forget our love for nature when we were children.
Take time and enjoy some of Miyazaki’s movies!