Leonardo DiCaprio introduced Martin Scorsese to Studio Ghibli – and his selections were perfect.
"I was asked what films I introduced to you, but considering you’ve seen every film ever made up until 1980, it’s pretty hard to say," DiCaprio said in a conversation with Scorsese for Letterboxd. "Other than maybe Spirited Away – Miyazaki's films – and maybe Princess Mononoke."
"It was Spirited Away you told me to watch," Scorsese replied.
DiCaprio has spoken about his love for Hayao Miyazaki's work in the past, listing Princess Mononoke as one of his favorite films of all time in a 2010 interview with Esquire. Some fans have theorized that DiCaprio's passion for climate change and the environment was born after his first viewing of Princess Mononoke, a film that reflects the real-world climate crisis. Set in the late Muromachi period of Japan, the story follows an Emishi prince named Ashitaka who finds himself in the middle of a war between the gods of a forest and the humans who live in a mining colony.
Spirited Away is also a commentary on environmentalism and Western consumerism: 10-year-old Chihiro's parents are turned into pigs by a witch named Yubaba, a metaphor for greed and overconsumption. Chihiro takes a job working in Yubaba's bathhouse to find a way to free her parents and return to the human world. Miyazaki is known for his distinct style, which combines soft and painterly yet extremely vibrant backgrounds with more simplified but expressive characters that you can't help but fall in love with. DiCaprio has good taste.
Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away are streaming on Max and Amazon Prime. For more, check out our list of the 17 best anime shows to watch in 2024.