Sen To Chihiro No Kamikakushi



Chihiro is a capricious, headstrong 10-year-old girl, who believes the entire universe should submit to her every whim. When her parents, Akio and Yugo, tell her they have to move house, she is furious and makes no attempt to hide her anger.
As they depart, she clings to the memory of her friends as much as to a bunch of flowers, the last trace of her old life. Arriving at the end of a mysterious cul-de-sac, the family is confronted by an immense red building in which an endless tunnel gapes like a gigantic mouth. Reluctantly, Chihiro follows her parents in.
The tunnel leads to a ghostly town, where a sumptuous banquet is waiting. Akio and Yugo fall upon the delicious food ravenously, but are transformed into pigs as their daughter looks on. They have strayed into a world inhabited by ancient gods and magical beings, and ruled over by a demonic sorceress, the harpy-like Yubaba.
Yubaba explains to Chihiro that newcomers are turned into animals before being slaughtered and eaten. Those who escape this tragic fate are condemned to annihilation once they have been proven worthless.
Fortunately, Chihiro finds an ally in the enigmatic Haku. In order to delay the fateful day of reckoning, to survive in this strange and perilous new world, she must make herself useful, she must work. Chihiro renounces her laziness, her humanity, her reason, her memories, even her name...

Director's Statement

"Spirited Away is not a satirical or cynical film", explains Hayao Miyazaki. "I know five little girls who are about 10 years old. I see them when I'm in my chalet in the mountains. One day I began to wonder what they dreamed of and hoped for. Then I began to read shojo mangas. The extremely romantic tone somewhat disgusted me. So I looked for something else that would really capture their interest. Except for a few rare and excellent authors like Osamu Tezuka, I quickly realised that nobody, not even me, was taking into account the problems and concerns of these little girls. Meanwhile, there was a wealth of publications for boys of the same age pertinent to their needs. So I set myself the challenge of writing something that would appeal to little girls. Something they could think about regarding their future and their relationship with society. In a world where they're overprotected, where they can't play unless they're signed up in a club with rigid and inflexible hours, children are wasting away. Chihiro suffers from the same thing. The rage on her face is typical of children who don't get enough time to play. Once faced with a crisis, the fighter in Chihiro emerges. Her abilities to adapt and use her judgement come to the fore. I didn't want her to be a perfect little cute heroine. Her charm comes from her heart and the depth of her soul."

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

Written by: Hayao Miyazaki

Produced by: Toshio Suzuki

Cinematography: Atsushi Okui

Original Score: Joe Hisaishi

Nominations and Awards

  • Screen International Award (for a non-European film) 2002