(Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi)
Original Japanese version
Recommended for ages 8 and up
Bobbie O’Steen is a New York–based writer, teacher, and film historian, specializing in editing; she is the author of The Invisible Cut and Cut to the Chase.
Ever the nostalgic fabulist, Hayao Miyazaki builds a passage between modern, everyday Japanese life and the half-remembered realms of spirits and folklore in this compelling adventure, winner of numerous international prizes, including the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. En route to their new suburban home, ten-year-old Chihiro and her parents stumble upon an abandoned theme park that turns out to be a true magic kingdom. When Mom and Dad undergo a terrible transformation, Chihiro’s only chance to save them, and herself, is to become a servant in a bathhouse frequented by millions of gods. Chihiro adapts by trial and error to the rules and culture of a place where little is what it initially seems. As always, Miyazaki makes this fantastic world feel utterly real, populating it with complex, mutable characters, precisely calibrating visual details, and infusing an allegorical yet organic plot with nuanced emotion.
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