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Howl’s Moving Castle

(Hauru no ugoku shiro) ハウルの動く城
Japan 2004. Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Chieko Baishō, Takuya Kimura, Akihiro Miwa, Haruko Kato, Tatsuya Gashûin

Howl’s Moving Castle was the second Studio Ghibli film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature (Spirited Away had been nominated — and won — three years before). Loosely based on the young-adult fantasy novel by Diane Wynn Jones, the film follows Sophie, a shy teenage girl working in a hat shop. Her life is thrown into turmoil when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome and mysterious wizard named Howl. This chance meeting arouses the jealousy of the vain, conniving Witch of the Waste, who transforms our young heroine into a 90-year-old woman! Embarking on an incredible adventure to lift this curse, Sophie finds refuge in Howl’s magical moving castle, and soon finds herself fighting to protect both the handsome wizard and herself from a dangerous, destructive war of sorcery that imperils their world. Howl’s Moving Castle became one of the most financially success Japanese films ever made. Its deeply-felt pacifism, Miyazaki has said, was inspired by his outrage over the U.S. war in Iraq. Colour, 35mm, in Japanese with English subtitles. 119 mins.