Sunday, January 19, 2003

sunday with sage and totoro

My early Sunday with my little daughter began at around 7AM with us viewing one of my favorite animated movies, My Neighbor Totoro. Released worldwide in 1988, this gem of a film has wit, charm and heart, easily captivating me with its delightful story, dialogue and characters. The English dubbing is every bit as wonderful as I remember it, and Sage dutifully sat through most of it (which, for an 11-month-old, is no mean feat).

When we lived in Hong Kong, I bought a Pikachu alarm clock (I just needed something to wake up and the Pikachu clock was the first thing I saw at the Night Market, plus I liked the little guy). The vendor told me that Pikachu would sing so I couldn't wait to buy batteries. When we got home, I put new batteries in the clock, set the alarm and surely enough Pikachu sang - but he sang the theme to "Totoro" instead of whatever Pokemon song he was supposed to sing.

Well, I kept Mr. Anime-Identity-Crisis around, neglecting to change the batteries, until one time when I was awakened to a gravely, dirge-like rendition of "Totoro" early one morning.

I like watching good animation with Sage, with the hope of imparting a little of my tastes and preferences to her. People tell us to let her watch Barney, but it will be a cold day in hell before that purple dinosaur walks into my home. Well, not really. I just find him...insipid and dumb-looking. I'd rather look for old episodes of Sesame Street, which helped me develop my own reading and listening skills (not to mention the sophisticated undercurrent of subversive humor almost every episode was imbued with).

During the final part of Totoro, Sage looked at me as if to ask "Well, Daddy, aren't we going to do ANYTHING else?".

So we danced to "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star", and Sage showed off her newly-acquired clapping skills.

Sheesh, I know I sound like a broken record, but I'm still amazed at how quickly she grows.


"The Qin King was obsessed with conquering all of China and becoming her first Emperor. He had long been the target of assassins throughout the other six states. Of all the would-be killers, none inspired as much fear as the three legendary assassins, Broken Sword, Flying Snow and Sky..."

One of the films I can't to see is Hero, Zhang Yimou's film with Jet Li, Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi. I saw the trailer in a theater and was reduced to a gibbering idiot. There was a scene of a swordfight amid yellow flower petals whose sheer beauty moved me, despite its brevity.

It opens on February 5 over here and you can bet I'll be in line.

If you want to see the trailers, click here.

I just wish Filipino filmmakers could create something of similar quality. Instead, we have crap like "Mano Po" and "Spirit Warriors".


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