A new museum in Los Angeles showcasing the history of cinema kicks off with a special exhibition on Miyazaki Hayao and Studio Ghibli.
A new site for moviegoers
Fans of Miyazaki Hayao now have the chance to view a considerable collection of original items related to her work in Los Angeles, at Studio Ghibli’s first major exhibition of genuine items outside of Japan. The Miyazaki exhibit opened as the first temporary exhibit at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, which opened to the public on September 30. Located on the fourth floor of the museum at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue and right next door to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the exhibit has already become a popular draw for visitors, with queues of people waiting to be seen. ” enter the first days of opening.
The Academy of Motion Pictures has been distributing Oscar statuettes since 1929 and is well known around the world for its lavish awards ceremonies, but apart from its offices in Beverly Hills, New York and London, the organization does until now had no physical presence as a museum. . Most tourists associate the Oscars with the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, which has hosted most of the Oscars in recent years. However, the establishment of this museum offers film buffs another place to view memorabilia from the cinema’s past.
Visitors to the museum itself will notice that the original building (now called the Saban Building after major donors Cheryl and Haim Saban) has been around for some time, as it was a large store that opened. its doors in 1939 and remained in operation until 1992. The LA County Museum of Art used the area as an exhibition space until it signed a 55-year rental agreement with the museum for the use of the structure and the neighboring land to extend it with a striking domed room.
Miyazaki kicks off the show
The Miyazaki Hayao exhibition was created in collaboration with Studio Ghibli, who actively worked with the museum and actively participated in the organization of everything. Several videoconferences were also part of the final preparations before the pre-opening press conference on September 23 and opening to the general public a week later. The reaction so far has been rather positive, with many visitors even making a point of specifically visiting this exhibit before anything else in the museum.
“Miyazaki has a singular ability to capture the way we view life, with all of its ambiguities and complexities,” said Jessica Niebel, Curator of Exhibitions at the Academy Museum. “It has been a privilege to collaborate with Studio Ghibli to create an exhibit that will appeal to the most passionate Miyazaki fans and those who are not yet familiar with his work.”
Studio Ghibli producer and co-founder Suzuki Toshio also commented on the opening of the exhibition. The producer said, “It is a tremendous honor that Miyazaki Hayao is the inaugural temporary exhibit at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Miyazaki’s genius is his power to remember what he sees. He opens the drawers in his head to pull out these visual memories to create characters, landscapes and structures brimming with originality. We hope that visitors will be able to discover the full extent of his creative process through this exhibition. I am deeply grateful to everyone who contributed to his presentation. “
Entrance to the exhibition is included in the general admission to the museum. Visitors first pass through a tunnel in the trees like the one in My neighbor Totoro to enter the Character Creation gallery, where multiple projectors show various scenes of the protagonists of some of Miyazaki’s most famous films and explain the process of creating these characters. Almost 300 authentic pieces complete this section and others, including storyboards, illustrations, reproductions, key animations and even miniatures used to create large pieces of decor at the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo. One of these miniatures is a reproduction of the Slag Ravine Mine used in Castle in the sky.
Included in all genuine items is a wall of original Japan movie release posters, ranging from the 1979 Lupine III: The Castle of Caligostro To Earwig and the witch, which just hit theaters in Japan in August after its Japanese TV debut on December 30, 2020. There is footage of interviews with Miyazaki himself and the late co-founder Takahata Isao, who talk about the start of their career and how they founded Studio Ghibli.
Involve museum visitors
An interactive part of the exhibit allows visitors to stretch out in the Sky View facility, where they can feel a breeze and relax while surrounded by images from many films that include flight themes, such as Kiki’s delivery service, Porco Rosso, and The wind picks up. Large parts of the exhibition walls are dedicated to space for film screenings, which are alternately displayed in Japanese with English subtitles or with English dubbing.
A separate Transformations gallery shows both the creative and destructive power of change seen in films such as Nausicaa Valley of the Wind and Howl’s moving castle. This gallery eventually leads to a separate section of the exhibit called the Magic Forest. A large tree-like installation welcomes visitors to scenes from a mythical forest and objects from the production of Princess mononoke, which was the first large-scale introduction of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s work to the general public in North America.
Finally, visitors are taken back to the usual museum through a route reminiscent of the film. Abducted as if by magic. The items related to the exhibition are an integral part of the promotion of the museum itself and are also present in the gift shop.
An interesting note is that one of the many theaters in the Academy’s museum, the 288-seat Ted Mann Theater, which has yet to open, will show a few films related to the museum’s exhibits. One of the first films to be screened will be My neighbor Totoro.
There is a strict ban on any video or photograph of the exhibit itself on the fourth floor, but the Academy Museum has provided a few images of the exhibit, which are featured with this item.
Even with the current COVID-19 protocols in place for visitors to all major indoor sites, the museum is drawing attention in hopes of welcoming many more visitors in the future. Personally, I have found my time at the museum to be one of the best ways to see authentic items from Miyazaki Hayao and Studio Ghibli without going to Japan. Have the exhibition among such important elements of the history of cinema, such as original costumes from Star wars and The Wizard of Oz and the original “Rosebud” sleigh by Citizen Kane) make it an even more interesting visit, although the Miyazaki exhibit seemed to be a draw in itself for many of the tourists I saw there.
(Originally written in English. Banner photo: The museum wall guiding visitors to the temporary exhibition space. Photo by Joshua White / © Academy Museum Foundation.)
Cinema Academy Museum: https://www.academymuseum.org/
Miyazaki Exhibition: https://www.academymuseum.org/en/exhibitions/hayao-miyazaki