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Spirited Away

(Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi) 千と千尋の神隠し
Japan 2001. Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Takashi Naitô, Yasuko Sawaguchi, Mari Natsuki

“A masterpiece, pure and simple” (Dave Kehr, New York Times), Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award-winning Spirited Away was the biggest box-office hit of all time in Japan and helped redefine the possibilities of animation for North American audiences and a generation of new filmmakers. Wandering through an abandoned carnival site, 10-year-old Chihiro is separated from her parents. She stumbles into a dream-like spirit world, where a tyrannical witch puts her to work in a strange bathouse for the gods. Encountering a vast menagerie of impossibly inventive characters — shape-shifting phantoms and spirits, some friendly, some less so — Chihiro must find the strength and smarts to escape her surroundings and return to her family. Combining Japanese mythology with Through the Looking-Glass-type whimsy, Spirited Away cemented Miyazaki’s reputation as an icon of inspired animation and wondrous, lyrical storytelling. In addition to its Oscar, it won the Golden Bear (top prize) at Berlin. Colour, 35mm, in Japanese with English subtitles. 125 mins.