Winner of the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, Spirited Away is Studio Ghibli’s best-known and most critically acclaimed work, and a modern classic of the animated film. After they move to a small suburban town, ten-year-old Chihiro and her parents discover what seems to be an abandoned amusement park which mysteriously contains a restaurant with plenty of food, but no customers. When her parents are turned into pigs after sampling the restaurant’s cuisine, Chihiro discovers that the park is a haven for hundreds of spirits and monsters ruled over by the bobble-headed witch Yubaba. In order to save her parents, Chihiro is forced to work all manner of odd jobs in the spirit world, where she finds herself in the midst of a feud between Yubaba and her gentle twin sister. Featuring some of Miyazaki’s most dazzlingly imaginative creations — most notably the alarmingly immense masked spirit called “No Face” — Spirited Away is a visual wonder and a uniquely philosophical take on the standard coming-of-age story. “One of the year’s best films” (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times).
When I was a child, I nearly drowned (several times in fact). The first time this happened my curiosity and incomprehension of perspective got the better of me.