Hayao Miyazaki: Modern movies are too weird for me


Genius recluse, über-perfectionist, lapsed Marxist, Luddite; like the legendary directors of Hollywood's Golden Age, Hayao Miyazaki's intimidating reputation is almost as famous as his movies. Mostly, though, Japan's undisputed animation king is known for shunning interviews. So it is remarkable to find him sitting opposite us in Studio Ghibli, the Tokyo animation house he co-founded in 1985, reluctantly bracing himself for the media onslaught that now accompanies each of his new projects.

Once a well-kept secret, Miyazaki's films are increasingly greeted with the hoopla reserved for major Disney releases. Spirited Away, his Oscar-winning 2001 masterpiece, grossed more in Japan than Titanic and elevated his name into the pantheon of global cinema greats. Time magazine has since voted him "one of the most influential Asians of the last six decades". Anticipation then is high for his latest, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, which has taken $160m (£107m) in ticket sales and been seen by 12 million people in J



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