Totoro Garden project was created by the Educational Dept of Cinecittà Shows Off for all visitors to the exhibition, in particular to children, families and schools.
The aim of the Garden is to reveal the world of animation and to share the work of Hayao Miyazaki, the internationally renowned Japanese director and founder of Studio Ghibli, with visitors.

The Totoro Garden has two different tours: one for families and the other for schools with students.

Totoro Garden at Cinebimbicittà

The Totoro Garden is an idea, a space to share with visitors to Cinecittà.  It was established in October 2017, driven by passion for the work of Hayao Miyazaki and his poetic approach:  the desire to conserve that enchanted way of looking at the world, through the dreaming spirit of childhood, mindful of the importance of magical complicity within the harmonious relationship of man and nature.  Children and their families watched a screening of the film My Neighbour Totoro, then, inspired by the story and its thoughts on the relationship of man with nature, a core theme for Miyazaki, planted seeds to create a participative, collective and magical garden, protected by the gaze of Totoro.  Later, in a workshop, the children created new adventures for Totoro and his friends, both real and supernatural, drawing storyboards and new characters for a stop-motion film In Volo con Totoro (Flying with Totoro) that they created together.
The small plants of the Totoro Garden are looked after on a daily basis and the Education Department organizes occasions for members of the public to participate and contribute to the growth of the ornamental garden.

Totoro Garden at school

The Education Department and the Liceo Augusto Righi (High School) of Rome have together created an experimental route, structured with the aim of creating a continuous dialogue between the school and the museum and stimulating the students’ knowledge of film.  The proposal is based on the intertwining, and contamination, of different languages: art, cinema and music.
– Phase 1 is a meeting at the Studios to introduce students to the history of cinema and animation.  In the meetings that follow, the work of Hayao is presented and a stop-motion short film is created, dedicated to My Neighbour Totoro.
– Phase 2 is when the short film created by the students is shared with the public, their families and visitors to the Cinecittà exhibition.  The students, assisted by members of the Education Department, will lead a peer to peer workshop on animation for the children and their families present at the event.

The day ends with a collective action of planting seeds to keep the Totoro Garden vital and to discover the enchantment in nature encapsulated in mono no aware (“the pathos of things”):  a feeling of emotional participation towards existence, a Japanese concept of contemplation of beauty followed by the feeling of nostalgia for its unceasing evolution.  The word breaks down into mono, things, and aware, whose original meaning indicated the wonder experienced in nature.

Totoro Garden is part of Animazioni d’autore, the didactic project launched by the Educational Department in 2016 which features monthly appointments focused on animated films by Italian and international directors.  Guided screenings of films, cartoons and new cinema projects are held in the evocative setting of Palazzina Fellini.  These screenings are a starting point for workshop activities where different languages, themes and techniques can be experiemented.

Totoro Garden is a project curated by Barbara Goretti and Serena Giulia Della Porta in collaboration with “Senza Titolo” Progetti aperti alla Cultura.


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