Howl's Moving Castle
As stay-inside weather swiftly approaches, we’re offering you another round of #FridayFilms to make it worthwhile, ArtNow: The Soul Is a Wanderer edition. The theme? A journey! We’re talking making-your-own-maps, friends, Joy Harjo style.
From a trip to Mordor to tales of loss and love, these staff-picked offerings consider roads-often-traveled, stories untold and futures formed at your own hands, much like the works on-view in the Main Gallery. Enjoy!
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) | Drama, fantasy, war | R | 1 hour 58 minutes
Pan's Labyrinth is directed by Guillermo del Toro. Set in post-Civil War Spain, Ofelia, the recent stepdaughter of a Spanish captain, is exposed to over-policed poverty and domestic abuse by her new father. This violent reality is mirrored by her comparably terrifying fantasy life, including being challenged by a mysterious faun to complete three tasks; once completed, she may reunite with her family. Considered one of the greatest films of the 21st century, this coming-of-age story is at once beautiful and grotesque. Guillermo del Toro engages seriously with the inner lives of children, and his care for design has given his work in the fantasy genre great repute. Pan's Labyrinth is a must-see for everyone who loves movies.
Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) | Comedy, drama, romance | PG-13 | 1 hour 53 minutes
No one does divorced-lady movies better than the incomparably stunning Diane Lane. In Under the Tuscan Sun, friends of Frances (played by Lane) gift her their seat on a Gay and Lesbian Tour of Tuscany after finding out her husband is in love with another woman. Instead, she buys and remodels a charming villa, Bramasole, on a whim. Although not an easy journey, she finds herself a community of friends and a home to call her own. Even though you certainly don’t need to move to Italy to find happiness and self again, apparently it helps. This 2003 flick also stars Sandra Oh who we LOVE and is directed by the late Audrey Wells.
Flee (2021) | Documentary, animation, biography | PG-13 | 1 hour 29 minutes
This Oscar-nominated film tells the story of Amin — an Afghan refugee in Denmark — as he recounts his past escaping an impending invasion, navigating how that affects his ability to settle down in the present. Thematically, Amin’s physical struggles with untrustworthy human traffickers and obtuse bureaucratic systems reflect his emotional struggles with hiding his sexuality and crushing loneliness. Together, they highlight Amin’s perseverance and the importance of finding strength in the face of ongoing adversity, highlighting the value of family — whether found or biological.
Also, the ending makes me cry – in a good way!
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) | Action, adventure, drama | PG-13 | 2 hours 58 minutes
Hobbits, elves and dwarves! Oh my! The Fellowship of the Ring is one of my all-time favorite movies (and books). This adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's rich narrative, immersive world-building and attention to detail in bringing Middle-Earth to life resonated with my nerdy appreciation for all things fantasy. The camaraderie among the diverse members of the fellowship was expertly written and portrayed, creating a compelling and emotionally resonant journey that made the film a standout in the fantasy genre.
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) | Animation, adventure, family | PG | 1 hour 59 minutes
When Sophie, a young, shy hat maker in a country at war, is cursed by a witch into the body of an old woman, she sets off to find Howl, a rumored magician with emotional baggage, drama and an unknown soft spot for Sophie. The now-elderly gal travels among rolling hills until a curious friend takes her to Howl’s mobile castle-on-legs. Once inside, Sophie uncovers the fantastical world of the magician, meeting quirky characters, experiencing ethereal realms and eventually lifting the curse along the way. A classic Hayao Miyazaki film, filled with unconditional love, rich imagery and hopeful magic. I am partial to the Japanese audio and voice actors; however, the English is just as sweet.
And there you have it, folks! Adventure awaits just beyond your screen (check out round one if you missed it) and pairs perfectly with a trip to the galleries. Happy watching!
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