Years ago in Taipei, I watched about 5 minutes of Spirited Away (the stink-spirit scene)—I don’t know how or why I only got that 5 minute glimpse. So many people around me love it, but I never got around to watching it in its entirety, until this spring. I never really had an answer for people when they asked me to name my favorite movie (I usually said Ferris Bueller’s Day Off—always a favorite). Now I do.
I fell in love with it from the first scene, which opens with a bunch of pink flowers filling the screen, accompanied by Chihiro’s voice reading the card that came with her flowers. Then her father’s voice calling her: “We’re almost there.” The bouquet is lowered from Chihiro’s face so we see what she’s looking at.
Then we pull out of her perspective to see how she’s lying in the backseat.
As her parents continue to talk, she turns her head and looks at them sullenly.
Her parents tell her to look at her new school, which they are driving by. Chihiro is displeased.
When she doesn’t receive any sympathy from her mother for her dying bouquet, she sinks back into the seat.
Her mother opens the car window, and we get Chihiro’s view out the car window. Everything is so much bigger and taller than she is. She has a very limited view from her position.
I was instantly absorbed into the movie because of how well Chihiro’s perspective is depicted. The art is superb and stunning, and there are so many wonderful details, like the train running across the tracks in the water at sunset, the different sized doors in the bath house, the boiler room, the rivers. Can there ever be another story set in a bath house?