Last week's issue of The New Yorker has a great article about Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎 駿), his work, and the Ghibli Museum Miyazaki designed. (The article isn't online, but an interview with it's author is.)
A while ago, Evelin and I rented Spirited Away (千と千尋の神隠し) and were blown away by it. We next saw Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫), which was beautifully drawn, but not as compelling.
After reading the New Yorker article, I really wanted to see Kiki's Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便), so that's what we rented this weekend. Fantastic: That's much more the sort of movie I want Celeste to be watching than the Disney Princesses stuff. (Okay, there are some spunky girl characters among the Princesses, Mulan in particular, but Kiki is factors of 10 a better movie.) I realize, having a little girl in this culture, I can't avoid some of the Princesses stuff (see "A Nation of Little Princesses" that ran in Salon last year), but it'd be nice to have films like Kiki influencing her, too.
[OFF TRACK: It's not about Kiki or Miyazaki, but thinking about Kiki does remind me (in that it is a cute story and involves witches) of Whispering to Witches, which I picked up for Evelin right before Christmas. It was recommended on "The World" as one of the year's best kids' books (which is also where I first heard of Harry Potter a long, long time ago). It was a real quick read, very cute, and a pretty neat cosmology to explain how/why witches are around.]