Film director Hayao Miyazaki expressed delight Tuesday about winning the top prize for his animated film “Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi” (“Spirited Away”) at the Berlin Film Festival.

During a news conference at a Tokyo hotel, Miyazaki accepted the trophy for the Golden Bear award, which his film shared with a British-Irish move, and said, “It is heavy.”

The 61-year-old filmmaker said he felt honored at receiving such a major prize.

Miyazaki, however, quickly added that, “A film is rewarded at the very moment it has an audience,” saying the award was a “supplement” to it. The animation industry icon also expressed his mixed feelings toward the enormous popularity his works have enjoyed among children.

“Children spend hours in front of TV sets watching our videos. They cannot grow in such a way,” he said. “I often feel I’m in a dilemma, as (my works) are accepted widely.”

It was the first time an animated film has taken the top prize in Berlin — one of the world’s top three film festivals along with Venice and Cannes — and the second time a Japanese film has won the Golden Bear since the 1963, when Tadashi Imai’s “Bushido Zankoku Monogatari” (“Stories of Samurai Cruelty”) was voted best film.

On Monday, the distributor of “Spirited Away” announced that the film’s run would be extended in theaters nationwide. The film has sold more than 22 million tickets since it opened in July, breaking box-office records.

“Spirited Away” is about 10-year-old Chihiro, who suddenly finds herself working in a hot-spring resort that caters to spirits and gods after she and her parents wander through a tunnel.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.