Yesterday afternoon I watched My Neighbour Totoro again for the nth time in my life. I never get bored of it, but this time, it was different. My college’s Rushes Film Club was screening this movie and having a discussion later. And I was so excited to go because then I’d meet all my juniors and their juniors and meet so many more people. It was a really great day and I was so glad to be a part of it.
In the AV room of the auditorium, small but musty and familiar, we sat on hard plastic chairs in the second row. ADP was sitting behind me, his friend and president of the club one chair next to me, another friend in front of him, and I was saving a seat for Vaishnavi, who wasn’t able to make it to the front row.
All through the movie, there were short moments of pure joy where most of us expressed it in silent smiles or a small chuckle. There were tears in my eyes, like they usually are when I watch this movie, because they aren’t just tears of sadness, they are also tears of happiness and relief because whatever Mei and Satsuki undergo as children is something that no child should undergo. They should jut be themselves at all times and find Totoro even on their most happiest days.
The discussion was around a large circle that we made out of those hard, butt numbing plastic chairs. We first discussed upon Totoro being the god of Death, which was a theory which was found online. To say I was shocked is an understatement. I mean, Totoro was such an amazing and helpful creature, I wonder why it would take away lives.
Then, some fans on some forum correlated the Sayama incident to the story. The Sayama incident, which took place on May 1, 1963 or some such year in Sayama, Japan, was when a girl was kidnapped, raped and murdered. Later, her sister commits suicide. So, some think that Miyazaki made it personal and tried to keep the two innocent girls alive through this movie.
All theories said and done, this movie is close to heart because the characters, Mei and Satsuki were so very relatable to me and my sister. We have not undergone such situations, but sometimes, I have been one to cry and she’s been there for me all the freaking time. And I try so hard to reciprocate it.
There was this once scene where Satsuki has to keep Mei with her in classroom during class because Mei didn’t want to stay with their Obaa-chan. It was so cute. It reminded me of all the times that I had lunch with my sister in her class with hall her classmates. I was pampered by them so much.
I had forgotten why I loved this movie. Rushes made me remember it. It was a spectacular Saturday.