Director: Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Stars: Chika Sakamoto, Noriko Hidaka, Hitoshi Takagi
For fans of Japanese animation, the name Hayao Miyazaki brings to mind some of the greatest animated feature films of the past 30 years. And in 1988, Miyazaki released what many consider to be his magnum opus: My Neighbor Totoro. The movie chronicles the adventures of two young girls in post WWII Japan as they move to the country to take care of their ailing mother. Once there, they encounter bizarre spirits from the surrounding forests.
Whereas Grave of the Fireflies brought bleak realism to war-torn Japan, My Neighbor Totoro brings whimsy to the world by blending history with the supernatural. It's an intelligent film that explores innocence and youth in a difficult time. Miyazaki has always had a flair for tapping into wondrous worlds filled with energy and originality, and My Neighbor Totoro is the prime example of his abilities. —JS