Saturday, April 26, 2014

Spirited Away is a 2001 animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

It's about an immature, somewhat spoiled and ill-mannered 10-year-old girl named Chihiro whose parents get trapped in the spirit-world. She's able to stay in the spirit-world and not get trapped herself but only by losing her name (she gets a new one, Sen) and by working as a bath-house attendant -- tending to the many animist spirits (spirit of the river, spirit of the lake, spirit of the rocks, spirit of the forest, etc.) that use it.

Miyzaki wrote the script after noticing that his granddaughters couldn't do the most basic functions (sew on a button, say "please" and "thank you", cook rice) -- when girls of his generation were considered nearly adults. So he wrote a coming-of-age story that documented how a spoiled, incompetent little girl has to step up.

His grandkids hated the movie.

In Miyazaki's world, witches are evil and terrifying. They kill people. Yet, Sen must ask the witch Yubab for a job.

Sen meets a number of odd creatures, some of whom want to help her and some of whom do not. Some don't care. Learning that the world isn't fair and isn't going to help you is part of growing up.

Sen's most difficult moment is facing the demonic No-Face...

Sen makes a symbolic journey aboard the "ghost train"...

I think my favorite parts are when Sen is cleaning the stinky river-spirit, and when she is going along the road to Zeniba's house -- following the jumping lamp.

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