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Spirited Away

In the middle of her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and monsters; where humans are changed into animals; and a bathhouse for these creatures.

Spirited Away is a 2001 Japanese animated fantasy-adventure film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli. The film tells the story of Chihiro Ogino, a sullen ten-year-old girl who is in the process of moving to a new neighborhood, but ends up in a mysterious world of spirits and monsters. There, Chihiro must find a way to restore her parents' true forms by working in Yubaba's bathhouse.

Miyazaki wrote the script after he decided that the film would be based on his friend's ten-year-old girl, who came to visit his house each summer. At the time, Miyazaki was developing two personal projects, but they were rejected. Production of Spirited Away began in 2000. During production, Miyazaki based the film's settings at a museum in Koganei, Tokyo. However, Miyazaki realized that the film would be over three hours and decided to cut out several parts of the story for its July 27, 2001 release. Pixar director John Lasseter, a fan of Miyazaki, was approached by Walt Disney Pictures to supervise an English-language translation for the film's North American release. Lasseter hired Kirk Thornton as director and Donald W. Ernst as producer of the adaptation.

When released, Spirited Away became the most successful film in Japanese history, grossing over $274 million worldwide, and receiving critical acclaim. The film overtook Titanic (at the time the top grossing film worldwide) in the Japanese box office to become the highest-grossing film in Japanese history. It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards, the Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival (tied with Bloody Sunday) and is among the top ten in the BFI list of the 50 films you should see by the age of 14.

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