Miyazaki’s superbly animated tale is considered to be one of the best-loved family films of all time. The story follows Satsuki (Hidaka) and Mei (Sakamoto), two young girls who find their new home is by a mystical forest inhabited by a menagerie of fantastical creatures called Totoros. They befriend O-Totoro, the biggest and eldest of them, and king of the forest. While the girls' mother lies sick in hospital, O-Totoro takes them on a magical adventure and helps them to understand the realities of life. Containing a powerful ecological theme, this is a lovingly crafted work of depth, import and beauty.
A fantasy adventure film unlike any other, Spirited Away tells the story of Chihiro, a capricious 10-year-old girl who believes the entire world should submit to her every whim. While en route to a new home, Chihiro and her parents stumble upon a mysterious tunnel, which leads them to a ghostly town. There, Chihiro’s parents greedily devour the buffet in an abandoned restaurant and unceremoniously turn into pigs as she looks on. They have unwittingly strayed into the Land of the Spirits, a world inhabited by ancient gods and magical beings, who holiday at a giant bath house run by the demonic sorceress, Yubaba. Chihiro finds an ally in the enigmatic Haku, who explains that in order to survive this strange and perilous world, Chihiro must make herself useful by working hard at the bath house. Chihiro renounces her laziness, her reason, her memories, even her name… This visionary work from legendary animator Miyazaki is a surreal fable and an enchanting fairytale.
Miyazaki’s eagerly awaited follow-up to SPIRITED AWAY is a freestyle adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones’s novel and a delight for all fans of the Japanese animators, Studio Ghibli. Cursed by the Witch of the Waste to take on the form of a 90-year-old woman, but unable to explain her predicament, Sophie soldiers on undeterred. She finds a job as a cleaner in a clanking walking castle with huge chicken legs, smokestacks and wings. Within, dandified wizard, Howl, his assistant and a talking fire-sprite use their sorcery as a military weapon, outwitting warmongering factions and battling inner demons. As if conceived by Hieronymous Bosch himself, the intricate castle design is the centrepiece of an enchanting animation that is brimming with imaginative treats from start to finish.
When Prince Ashitaka slays a raging boar god, he is wounded and becomes infected with the sickness that had sent the beast berserk, a malady stemming from humankind’s disharmony with nature. Set at the time of Japan’s transition from the Middle Ages to the modern era, Princess Mononoke is a morally complex tale that blends a fantasy quest with social comment for our times.