Screening: 3 April 2006
SynopsisMiyazaki's extraordinary animation fantasy follows the adventures of 10-year-old Chihiro through an enchanted world inhabited by gods, ghosts and mythical creatures. During her family's move to the suburbs, Chihiro's father takes a shortcut down a lonely dirt road. Soon the family comes upon a restaurant with food but no staff or customers. Her parents eagerly sit down to eat but Chihiro senses danger and wanders off on her own. When night falls, she is alarmed to see the place fill up with faceless spirits and rushes back to find her parents, only to discover they have been transformed into pigs.
Now trapped in this strange and eerie place, Chihiro finds a friend in the mysterious Haku who secures her a job in a nearby building, which turns out to be a spa hotel for Japan's vast pantheon of gods and spirits. Put to work, Chihiro finds herself running baths for all manner of startling deities.
The only way she can break the spell that binds her and her parents to this exotic but dangerous world is to find a way to defeat the greedy witch Yubaba who runs the bathhouse.
An enchanting adventure about growing up and finding oneself, from one of Japan's most acclaimed animation directors.
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Film FactsSpirited Away won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature at the 2003 Academy Awards despite initially receiving only a half-hearted release in America from distributors Disney. It was rushed back into cinemas the week following the award ceremony and went on to make nearly $10 m at the US box office.
The film also won 31 other international film awards including a Golden Bear at Berlin and a Cesar for Best Foreign Film.
In addition to its wins, Spirited Away was nominated for a further 17 awards, including a BAFTA.
After the release of Spirited Away in July 2001, 60-year-old Miyazaki, one of Japan's leading animation directors, told a press conference he was retiring from the arduous work of creating full-length feature films. His retirement was short-lived. He went on to make Howl's Moving Castle in 2004.
Miyazaki's other films include Princess Mononoke, My Neighbour Totoro and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds.