French Student Sets Internet on Fire with Animation Inspired by Moebius, Syd Mead & Hayao Miyazaki

The inter­net over in Japan was lit ablaze last month by a stu­dent film. Titled “Celles et Ceux des Cimes et Cieux” (“Girls and Guys from the Sum­mits and the Skies”), the short is a gor­geous­ly ani­mat­ed trail­er for what looks like an amaz­ing yet-to-be-made fea­ture film. Cre­at­ed by Gwenn Ger­main, who is study­ing at the French art school Créa­pole, the ani­ma­tion is also a love let­ter to leg­endary film­mak­er Hayao Miyaza­ki. You can watch it above.

“I’ve been told by a friend of mine that all the movies that I’ve made are essen­tial­ly the same!” That’s what Miyaza­ki said to me dur­ing a round­table for his children’s movie Ponyo. Though the sto­ries vary from movie to movie, his world is imme­di­ate­ly rec­og­niz­able and remark­ably con­sis­tent. He cre­ates uni­vers­es that are won­drous and mys­ti­cal.

He has an almost shaman­is­tic rev­er­ence for nature; rocks, trees, rivers, and oceans all seem to be alive and aware. And he pop­u­lates his world with shape-shift­ing crea­tures like the rav­en­ous masked blob No-Face in Spir­it­ed Away; the Great For­est Spir­it in Princess Mononoke, which looks like it was yanked straight out of Japan­ese mythol­o­gy; and per­haps his most delight­ful cre­ation, the Cat Bus from My Neigh­bor Totoro, com­plete with head­light eyes, a Cheshire grin and a warm, womb-like inte­ri­or. It was this whim­si­cal cre­ation that report­ed­ly impressed The Emper­or him­self – Aki­ra Kuro­sawa.

It’s no won­der why Japan­ese neti­zens went crazy for “Celles et Ceux des Cimes et Cieux.” Germain’s short seems sprung from the same world as Miyaza­ki. The giant bugs look like some­thing out of Nau­si­caa of the Val­ley of the Wind. The ambigu­ous­ly Euro­pean archi­tec­ture looks like some­thing from Kiki’s Deliv­ery Ser­vice and those pur­ple amor­phous worms look like some­thing from Spir­it­ed Away.  Heck, Miyaza­ki him­self even seems to be in Ger­main’s short – that beard­ed old guy at the end of the movie is a spit­ting image of the famed ani­ma­tor.

Ger­main cred­its oth­er influ­ences aside from Miyaza­ki: Syd Mead, the con­cept artist who cre­at­ed those fly­ing cars in Blade Run­ner and the city of the future in the upcom­ing Tomor­row­land, and par­tic­u­lar­ly the bound­less­ly imag­i­na­tive French illus­tra­tor Moe­bius. Their influ­ence might not be as obvi­ous as Miyaza­k­i’s, how­ev­er.

In any case, I am seri­ous­ly look­ing for­ward to see­ing a fea­ture length ver­sion of “Celles et Ceux des Cimes et Cieux.”

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

How to Make Instant Ramen Com­pli­ments of Japan­ese Ani­ma­tion Direc­tor Hayao Miyaza­ki

Moe­bius Gives 18 Wis­dom-Filled Tips to Aspir­ing Artists (1996)

Moe­bius’ Sto­ry­boards & Con­cept Art for Jodorowsky’s Dune

Japan­ese Car­toons from the 1920s and 30s Reveal the Styl­is­tic Roots of Ani­me

Jonathan Crow is a Los Ange­les-based writer and film­mak­er whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low him at @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veep­to­pus, fea­tur­ing pic­tures of vice pres­i­dents with octo­pus­es on their heads.  The Veep­to­pus store is here.

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