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Princess Mononoke, Hayao Miyazaki, director.

This was Japan’s highest grossing film of all time until it was pushed into second place by Titanic. It is the story of a young Japanese warrior, Ashitaka, who kills a demon that is threatening his village but in so doing contracts the demon’s curse, forcing him to leave his home and journey to the west in hopes of learning who is behind the upset of the natural order. It is a beautiful film, steeped in Japanese myth and culture and full of some of the most breathtaking animated imagery I have ever seen. The score, by Joe Hisaishi, is likewise gorgeous — a wonderful example of symphonic storytelling not unlike Howard Shore’s recent Oscar-winning score to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Princess Mononoke is one of the finest cinematic fantasies I have ever seen.

Miyazaki’s latest film, Spirited Away, is apparently going to be released in the United States later this year. The image above links to nausicaa.net, a site devoted to Miyazaki’s films.

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