Our Christmas Eve entertainment, on a proposal from the sprogs, was the phantasmagoric Japanese anime film, Spirited Away. A distinct advantage of having children is that you end up watching films, like this one, that you would probably never have watched otherwise. It won an Oscar (best animated film) and a Golden Bear at Berlin and is among the top ten in the BFI list of the 50 films you should see by the age of 14. (OK, OK; I am not fourteen. On the other hand, the film hadn’t been made when I turned fourteen!) A sulky ten year-old girl, Chihiro, is moving home with her parents, leaving her old friends and school behind. The three are transported into a world peopled by spirits and fantastic monsters. Her parents are transformed into pigs and, in order to free them, Chihiro has to come of age. Through her adventures the sulky brat learns the virtues of hard work and optimism. She discovers courage and determination. She learns to care for others. And all of this takes place in a sort of Japanese version of a Hieronymous Bosch painting, with all sorts of ghouls and ghosties. There is more than a passing resemblance to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Once you have made the passage from childhood to adulthood you can never look at the world in the same way again.