I used to live as a kid in a remote area in France, a communist city of less than 5000 inhabitants, in a 200-years old house. Leaving out the nearby forests, the books and TV, the mysteries in the attic such as a small music box and dusty dolls, there was not much to do around. Except for this really small theater, used for local plays and movies. The movies were mainly auteur movies, short-movies, and so were the ones for the kids.
In this theater, with my little brother and sister I discovered and enjoyed films of Nick Park, Tim Burton, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, The Monty Python, and so much more. And obviously Hayao Miyazaki, which was really peculiar in France in those days ; but at that time the little 10-years old me wasn't aware of that. Today, I am really grateful for all those magical journeys this theater gave me, the world and culture I could have grasped from the too big, too old theater's seats.
Totoro is iconic all around the world but for me, of all the movies I have seen in this little theater, the story of My Neighbour Totoro reminded me most of the area we were living in. Remote, living with imagination and passing time with the family.
Funny thing is that I don't really recall the details of the movie at that time (I've seen it many then, be assured) but the memory right before the film is still vivid : the cold snowy weather and red noses in winter, the hot tea and fresh bread freely distributed in the queue, the steam coming out of my brother's mouth, the loud noisy expectation of dozens of small kids. All of that in front of that small theater, waiting and wondering what would be this weird grey cat-bear.
We didn't have the OP back in the days, no internet and no tapes, but I still remember me and my sister humming the Neighbour Totoro song right out of the theater, getting in the car back to home and screaming like it would have been the Catbus.
We hummed the song for months. I still do, I have to admit.
My story might be a little long, sorry about that, but this is why I am so sincerely grateful to all of you, MUROBOX Team, for bringing back such a fundamental and wonderful memory.
Some shall call it nostalgia, they might not be wrong, but to me it is a gift to my 1-year old son, to have his own version of this song and for a brief moment the only one in the world.
Past is what we are and what others will be, may they accept it.