Saturday, May 14, 2005

My Neighbor Totoro / Kiki's Delivery Service

My Neighbor Totoro
Japan / Dir Hayao Miyazaki
86 min, color animation

Kiki's Delivery Service
1989 / Dir Hayao Miyazaki
102 minutes, color animation

His movies are pure magic. Miyazaki may be too big to call 'alternative' at this point, but his films for younger children deserve inclusion here for their gentleness, their fascination with the unfolding details of daily life, their strong girls and tender boys, and the kinetic joy of flying viewers experience when characters go airborne.

Totoro is a magical forest being that comes into the life of two young girls when their mother is hospitalized. The family life at the core of the story gets a dose of whimsy from Totoro and other spirits of the forest, including a Cat Bus.

Kiki's Delivery Service is one of my daughter's favorite witch stories. A young girl coming of age as a witch and leaving home (at the age of thirteen!) befriends interesting women of all ages, who mentor her toward discovering what makes her special.

Recommended for ages 3 and older.

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