Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi
Japan, 2001, 125 min
Shown in 2002
COMMENTSHayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki in person, introduced by John Lasseter.
Cowinner of the Golden Bear at the recent Berlin Film Festival and the highest grossing film of all time in Japan, this is the latest fantastical creation by animation master Hayao Miyazaki. A fabulous ghost-infested adventure full of action, suspense, bizarre creatures and compelling human characters, Spirited Away is the pinnacle of animated fantasy. Stumbling upon an abandoned theme park, young Chihiro soon finds her parents turned into pigs and herself on the verge of invisibility. As night falls, a whole new world emerges: a giant bathhouse ruled by the sorceress Yubaba, which caters to millions of ghosts, gods and goblins. This is no place for humans, but working there is Chihiro’s only hope of saving her parents and herself. Forced to change her name to Sen, she desperately tries to maintain her identity (and, thus, her ability to stay human) while cleaning giant hot tubs, battling a cast of spirits reminiscent of a Star Wars cantina (including a giant Stink God who could be the ghost of Jabba the Hut—but smellier) and adopting a few friends, including a busily buzzing gnat, a miniature pig and a hoppy crew of little soot balls with eyes. Joe Hisaishi’s exquisite score further enhances the brilliance of a film that is a cinematic feast for kids and adults alike.