Gauche the Cellist, a Japanese short story and animated movie
October 8, 2011 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Gauche the Cellist [Google video, 63 minutes] is based on a story [Japanese; English translation #1, #2] by Kenji Miyazawa, one of the most-loved poet/storytellers in Japan (Miyazaki and Takahata love his works, and have been influenced by him). The movie was made as an independent project by a Japanese animation studio, OH Production (wiki), and took 6 years to complete. It is rather difficult to make a Kenji story into a movie because there are many Japanese just waiting to rip you apart if you screw up, but Gauche has been highly acclaimed, and is considered one of the best Miyazawa movies (IMDb). The story is about a cellist, Gauche, who becomes a better cellist by interacting with animals who visit his home every night. *
posted by filthy light thief (8 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Am eager to see this, thank you.
posted by everichon at 9:13 AM on October 8, 2011

And if you don't have an hour at the moment, here's the Japanese trailer (3:55), which looks a lot sharper than the Google video, in terms of video quality. There's also a 2006 Japanese 2DVD re-issue that improved the image quality. Sadly, it doesn't seem that there's any version outside of Japan, but the main movie has English subtitles.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:20 AM on October 8, 2011

Oh, neat! I've always wanted to see this. I adore Miyazawa's Night On the Galactic Railroad, and the 1985 adaptation of that.
posted by byanyothername at 9:47 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Whoa, thanks!

Anyone interested in Kenji Miyazawa should check out Spring and Chaos -- it's his life story told through fantastic animation. Very beautiful take on what it was like to be a struggling artist in early 20th century Japan.
posted by vorfeed at 10:53 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

That was phenomenal. Thanks for the link.
posted by cthuljew at 1:11 PM on October 8, 2011

Thanks! My theory is that whoever made the original torrent of this is responsible for transmogrifying "Goshu" into "Gauche", and it stuck. Do you speak Japanese? Does "Gauche" make any sense at all? To me his name sounds exactly like "goshu". /tangent
posted by sneebler at 4:32 PM on October 8, 2011

To me his name sounds exactly like "goshu".

I hope someone better-qualified to answer this will be along soon - I'm neither Japanese nor an expert, just someone with enough knowledge to be dangerous - but...

In the Japanese, the name is spelled out in katakana, which I would naively take to mean that it's a foreign name (a normal Japanese name would be written in kanji). The spelling is "Goshu" - the "o" is long, the "u" is short or elided - and if you started with the word "gauche" and wanted to write it in Japanese characters, I think that's what you'd come up with.

I'd say his behaviour towards the animals is gauche at best, but as to whether that's what Miyazawa was getting at... no idea. Wikipedia says the name has been transliterated as "Gorsch" and "Goshu" as well as "Gauche"; and the Ghibli Wiki mentions Takahata's take on the name here.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 9:54 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cool! It was silly of me to carry on with my base and unimaginative "theory", ignorant that there was already a detailed and specific answer already laid out (with appropriate citations) by Takahata himself. (Hangs head. I'm older than I thought, already.) ;-)
posted by sneebler at 10:58 AM on October 9, 2011

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