World: Journey of My Memory (1998)

Viewing

Seen in 2017.

Categorization

A pair of NHK travel documentaries, each with one of the two greatest luminaries of Ghibli.

Subject

In the first program, Takahata Isao visits Canada to see Prince Edward Island again, where he did background research for Anne of Green Gables (1979). He also goes to meet the 75-year-old Frederic Back, who made The Man Who Planted Trees (1987), which Takahata had translated and released in Japan. They met on the first trip in the 1970s, and talk about the relationship between humankind and nature. Takahata visits a tourist village of 19th-century rural reenactors and a Haida village, the latter because Back was reminded of the Haida when he saw Pom Poko (1994). They plant an oak together in Back's home-grown forest.

In the second program, Miyazaki Hayao visits France, Spain and Morocco to follow the flight path of the French aviator, poet and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, whose name sounds pretty funny in Japanese (“santegujyuperi”).

Commentary

Too marginal a release to appear on IMDb as of 2017. Also known as Journey of the Heart, originally titled Sekai: Waga kokoro no tabi. Miyazaki's trip is by far the less conventional; the NHK team clearly struggled to make it watchable, since Miyazaki spends quite a lot of time flat on his stomach staring down through the crop dusting port of an Antonov An-2, just studying terrain, making no sketches and taking no photos: He wants to commit it all to memory!

documentary series