9. Film Analysis
Both The Wizard of Oz and Spirited Away can be classified as coming-of-age films. They both tell the story of a girl going through a “rites of passage” adventure as she transitions to adulthood within her specific culture. Compare and contrast what The Wizard of Oz teaches about being American with what Spirited Away teaches about being Japanese.
Select a SPECIFIC scene, and develop a FOCUSED thesis. For example, “I Aim to Show How Coming-of-Age Films Are Constructed Based on Different Nationalities through Comparison of the Film the Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939) and the Film Spirited Away (Hayo Miyazaki, 2016)”
Write the essay based on extremely detailed analysis of the selected scene (one scene from each film).
-Look DEEP and SPECIFIC.
-Look through scenes in each film and find similarities
-Show concept through the analysis through the scenes instead of telling about the meanings.
-Assume grader has seen the movie.
-Develop thesis based on few DEEPLY analysed scenes rather than fill up the essay with too many examples.
-On each example, only focus on what is related to the thesis.
-More interpretation rather than cinematic languages.
USE and ONLY use information provided below in your essay: (Transfer the information below into an essay with specific detail analysis of scenes from each film)
What are the similarities and differences between The Wizard of Oz and Spirited Away?
Similarity – Ritual Structure
Arnold van Gennep’s Rites of Passage (1909)
Ritual has a three-part (tripartite) structure:
Leave everyday (normative) world, often through a physical threshold
‘betwixt and between’; transitional; ambiguous; disoriented
Social status, identities, relationships dissolve
Return to the everyday, often through a physical threshold
Deeper understanding, changed or renewed perspectives
Victor Turner expanded on the liminal phase:
COMMUNITAS – spontaneous sociability, solidarity, equality; a heightened emotional or spiritual experience; reciprocal relationships
ANTI-STRUCTURE – neither structural reversal nor rejection, but a liberation from social structures; this opens up new perspectives and possibilities
How are the liminal experiences of Dorothy and Chihiro similar, and how do the liminal experiences of Dorothy and Chihiro differ?
Salman Rushdie on The Wizard of Oz (BBC radio program, 2018)
How does meaning change if Mulvey’s “imagined male spectator” is not a hegemonic masculine American?
Salman Rushdie – born in India in 1947; later moved to Britain; now in the United States
Why does Rushdie state this film is:
an anthem of world’s migrants who go in search of the place where dreams come true?
a celebration of escape?
about the tension between roots and away?
Why does Rushdie say: “the “real secret” of the ruby slippers is not that there’s no place like home, but rather that there is no longer any such place as home — except of course for the homes we make or are made for us in Oz – which is anywhere and everywhere except the place from which we began “?
Wizard of Oz
From black and white to color to black and white
Dorothy as “every girl”; Kansas as mainstream America
Secular rather than religious
Good witch and wicked witch
Hollowed-men: Tin Man (heart); Scarecrow (brain); Cowardly Lion (courage) – and the Wizard of Oz
Must stop believing in wizards and believe in yourself
We already possess what we seek most fervently
There’s no place like home
Individual, inner strength and will
Other comments: A quest to find what is important in life; good will triumph over evil; defines what is American
Miyazaki’s Spirited Away
Affirming Japanese Cultural Values
Shinto worldview: requires pure heart and mind.
Kami (manifestations of vital power in all)
Makoto (genuine sincerity toward others)
Torii (marks place of kami presence that can change one’s life)
Kami-kakushi (hidden by the kami)
Shinjin-gouitsu (uniting of kami with human spirit)
All phenomena have kami potential; and all become polluted and need cleansing and purification to manifest their vitality
Chihiro’s character development relational rather than individualistic
Neither good nor evil: No Face – inki (one whose heart is closed); Yubaba); rather, a matter of reducing (polluting) or promoting (purifying) one’s ability to participate fully
Haku – embodiment of traditional Japanese values via his clothes, full name, and language use
(Japanese and English versions)
English version: ending, father asks if she is up to the challenges of a new home and school. Chirhiro responds, “I think I can handle it.” Japanese version not spoken.
Japanese title: Sen to Chihiro no kami-kakushi (kami-kakushi means “something hidden by kami)
When “stink spirit” cleansed, says to Sen, “It feels good.” English version: “Well done.”
“inquire after many things”