Thursday, 14 May 2009

Iblard Jikan (2007)

Iblard Jikan is a short animated film that almost perfectly distills the Studio Ghibli spirit in its brief 30 minute span. Directed by Naohisa Inoue, who also handled the similar dream sequences in Whisper of the Heart, Iblard Jikan is devoid of story and is instead a vibrant piece of living art. Paintings of the magical world of Iblard are set, with minimal animation, against the orchestral and synthetic musical compositions of Kiyonori Matsuo as a tour into the heart of the Ghibli aesthetic.

Without a story to distract, Iblard jikan draws the viewer into this world where Victorian and Art Moderne-influenced cityscapes teeming with characteristic airships and trolleys are wonderfully integrated with vivacious natural life. Steep, mountain-hugging villas are topped by lush greenery as pathways and trolley rails wind through pristine waterways. Pastel flowers and vines color a society that seems to have discovered the appropriate limits of necessary technology while living holistically with the natural world.

It is not without its outright fantastical scenes of floating mountains and multitiered lakes, but the real inspirational beauty of Iblard Jikan is in how it can just as well serve as concept art for our own world. This shows us a vision that does not eschew technology but does know its proper place, which is integrated with and in deference to life: human, animal and vegetable. In this is reflects, distills and crystalizes Ghibli themes that run through such films as Castle in the Sky and places as the Studio Ghibli Museum.


Decker said...

I was attempting to look for this following your talk at the panel yesterday, but forgot the name, so thanks for having it posted up here. It is perfect material for my archives and research.

Cory Gross said...

No problem! It was sort of luck of the draw this month that most of the shows I talked about were ones I was also reviewing on the blog.

Thanks for coming to the panel!

J.R.D.S. said...

INÔE Naohisa did not direct the fantasy sequences of Whisper of the Heart if that's what you were inferring (MIYAZAKI Hayao, also responsible for the film's screenplay and storyboards, did), he did the background paintings for them (I hate calling them "backgrounds" as they can just as likely be above the cel layer and can sometimes be irrefutably more important than that – Iblard Jikan being a key example – but that's the nearest to a word we have for them in English) in the style of his Iblard paintings. His Web site has many examples and some info in English, and is what I mostly know Iblard from. I even remember seeing images from an exhibition of tribute art, works by other artists set in Iblard or of its inhabitants; he's been doing them since at least 1983, when the first book of them was published, pre-dating Miyazaki's Laputa by a few years.

If you didn't already know (it's not mentioned here but you may have learnt of it since writing this post) there is another Ghibli work set in Iblard: the short film Hoshi o Katta Hi, written and directed by MIYAZAKI Hayao and conceived with INÔE Naohisa, who soon after that directed Iblard Jikan (which was made for video – and specifically Blu-ray Disc – distribution) himself.

"(…) a society that seems to have discovered the appropriate limits of necessary technology while living holistically with the natural world." I've known Iblard in and of itself, and not only via the Ghibli productions, annoyingly longer than anyone else I know but you've explained the particular appeal of the entirety of it with this post in way I'd never hit upon myself in my years of on-and-off contemplation of it. ♥ ♥ ♥