Is Spirited Away just a kids movie

Spirited away - Spirited away - Spirited away

Chihiro and her parents move to the country. On the way, however, the family gets astray and ends up in a strange landscape. This seems to be deserted, although there are many richly laid tables there. Chihiro feels uncomfortable and tries to persuade her parents to return, but they are already working on the delicious food and shortly afterwards begin to grunt strangely - they have turned into pigs. Now completely on her own, the young girl looks for help and ends up in a huge bathhouse for spirits and gods that is run by the strict boss Yubaba. Here Chihiro first of all finds work and then allies who should help her to transform her parents back. In doing so, she comes across the strangest characters, gods and monsters, and has to quickly learn to take her fate into her own hands.

Admittedly a very short synopsis for a very complex film, but a more detailed description of the events in "Magic Land" could only give an inadequate impression of what makes this film such a fascinating experience. On the contrary: it is to be feared that the mention of people turning into pigs or gigantic slime creatures might even deter the inexperienced viewer from watching this somewhat different type of cartoon. The fact that that would be a mistake is proven not least by the really significant prizes that "Spirited Away" has won in recent months: The "Golden Bear" at the Berlin Film Festival, for example, and of course the Oscar for the best animated film, against all competition of the great American studios. If you also consider that the film was also an overwhelming success with the public in its home country Japan, which virtually pulverized all box-office records, then you can actually only draw one conclusion: There must be something very special about this very unusual film.

However, he does not meet the western audience completely unprepared, because with his last work "Princess Mononoke" at the latest, Japan's cult director Miyazaki has already made a huge impression on us and made many new friends. Compared to the relatively clear and stringently told adventure story of "Mononoke" - which only drifts a little too much into a wild mix of fantasy, religious and eco-fable in the last quarter - "Spirited Away" offers us a very reduced dramaturgical plot and therefore one More on show values ​​and bizarre ideas as well as their possibility of interpretation.
Does the magical land and above all the microcosm of the bathhouse serve as a distorted reflection of today's (not only Japanese) society? Are the parents punished for their excessive gluttony and is the helpless attempt of the "faceless" to buy sympathy with coins despicable and therefore inevitably leads to catastrophe? Such questions force themselves to the adult viewer again and again without being asked directly in the film. Miyazaki only "shows" here, he doesn't ask or explain anything directly. The ingenuity with which he goes to work causes amazement and enthusiasm time and again. The large bathhouse - with its many floors and rooms and, above all, its residents and visitors - is an extremely impressive construction in which the spectator could probably lose himself for hours.

And as a very good film should do, "Spirited Away" works in two ways: On the one hand as a social parable with the means of an extremely imaginative fairy tale, on the other hand simply "just like that" - as exciting entertainment with good or sometimes badly Figures, with terrifying gods and cute little animals (the very adorable, sometimes hard-working, sometimes extremely lazy cellar workers with the catchy name "Makurokurosuke" deserve a special mention). Every child can easily identify with Chihiro, with her amazement or fear and share in her despair. What distinguishes the film pleasantly from the perfectly animated western mainstream is its absolute unpredictability, even for experienced cinema-goers. You really never know what or who is coming next and you don't know exactly how he will behave. Miyazaki takes more than two hours for all these descriptions, and that's a good thing. Because here more runtime is actually "more" of ideas and impressions. And for the development of the main character Chihiro into a self-confident girl who realizes that all of her actions also have consequences, also absolutely necessary. This development is unmistakable and then runs like a red thread through this large picture arch full of surprises and wonders.

The German start of "Spirited Away" has been postponed for a long time until the normal cinema audience can finally enjoy the film on the big screen, whereby the "Zauberland" in the German title suggests a somewhat more harmless and well-behaved film than one then actually expected. The "real" anime and Miyazaki fans have long since viewed his current work at special festivals or obtained them as a DVD import. It is to be hoped that the attention that the film has received in the meantime (thanks to the numerous awards) will lead to the fact that this time a little more people are willing to be enchanted by a Japanese animated film than is usually the case in this country . Rarely would anyone have deserved it like this