21 October 2010 3:47 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Hayao Miyazaki, 2001

For many Western film-goers, Spirited Away marked an entry point into the beguiling world of Japanese film-maker, Hayao Miyazaki. To say that this coming-of-age film is one of his more accessible works would be misleading. Yes, it tells a familiar story of a girl's journey through a fantasy world that forces her to grow up before she can return to normal life, but it is also profoundly, joyously strange. Not that this matters, because the world Miyazaki creates is so compelling and beautifully drawn. The logic appeals like that of a dream that's both marvellous and frightening. Even if we don't always understand, we never lose a sense of urgency in Chihiro's quest and a fascination in her surroundings.

It helps that she is introduced to us as an ordinary 10-year-old, disgruntled that her parents are moving her to a new town. En route, the family takes a »

- Killian Fox

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