PRINCESS MONONOKE - 5 Movies That Changed My Life

The face of Princess Mononoke

Movies are stories

For thousands of years stories have been told as a means to communicate deeper truths about reality and society

Stories work on many levels, and are remembered far better than bullet points and power points. So it is hardly surprising that movies have the ability to move us and teach us

This has been no less true for me, so I wanted to look at some movies that have moved me and taught me, in the hopes that you might see things that maybe you didn't see before, or have never seen.

*****Warning Spoilers*****

Princess Mononoke is directed by my favorite director, Hayao Miyazake. It is ultimately a parable exploring the dichotomy between our need to care for the environment, and the steps forward that progress has given us.

The environment is personified by "the gods of the forest", truly wild unpredictable animals, representing the wild nature of the earth

Human progress is personified by the Iron Village, clearing the forest and mining in the mountains.

The gods of the forest and the iron village are constantly at war, the gods of the forest attempting to stop the iron villages progress, and the iron village attempting to kill the gods to further the progress.

For me the film balances our need to care for the environment with the great strides forward that human progress has given us.

We see in The village a higher standard of living, a greater level of gender equality, and a kind of public healthcare, all of which have been made possible by by the deforestation and the mining.

The climax of the film happens when one side is pushed too far and the main god of the forest is assassinated, causing a massive environmental problem (essentially a sped up version of climate change effects), it expresses the need for balance (which we are not doing particularly well at the moment).

I like this film because, other than passing the bechdel test, it handles complexity extremely well and uses a brilliant story to convey a powerful message. 

It helps environmentalists like me to balance peoples needs, and helps others to realise that the environment is more fragile than we have been led to believe.

If you have never seen Princess Mononoke i highly recommend it, both as a compelling narrative and as a deep life lesson.

May we learn to navigate the sea of complexity in this modern context, may we be compassionate to those whose viewpoint differs from our own, and may we finally come to an acknowledgement of the fragility of this earth.

*****Warning Spoilers******


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