Friday, 14 June, 2013 - 19:11

The weird & wonderful world of Studio Ghibli

by Jane Bristow

Have you ever watched a film about a pilot who’s been turned into a pig in 1930s Italy and is in love with a beautiful (human) cabaret singer?  Or one where a talking cat helps a school girl to escape the king of the land of cats? Maybe you’ve seen a film with a young witch who starts a delivery service? If so then you’ve probably discovered the joys of Studio Ghibli.

Often described as the Japanese answer to Disney, this animation studio has quietly been making spectacular films since 1985 when it was founded by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. However, Studio Ghibli is particularly known for artistic animation and imaginative plots which are popular with adults and children alike. In the last thirty years their films have won international awards and have become recognised for their creativity. Hollywood stars including Anne Hathaway, Christian Bale and Emily Mortimer have all shown their approval and provided English language voices for characters.

The most famous film by the studio is Spirited Away, which is the most successful Japanese film ever and made $27,000,0000 across the world. It also won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature along with numerous other awards. The story follows a ten year-old girl, Chihiro Oginowho, as she accidentally enters another world full of spirits and monsters whilst on the way to a new house with her parents. After her parents are turned into pigs she becomes trapped here and to leave she must escape an evil witch. Like many Studio Ghibli films there’s lots of Japanese folklore in the plot which makes for a really great and unusual film.

My personal favourites include The Cat Returns (featuring the king of the cats) and Porco Rosso (with the pilot who's a pig), but there’s seventeen films in total to watch whatever your age or nationality.

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What are your favourite foreign films?

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