By Joe McGovern
Updated October 17, 2014 at 04:00 AM EDT
Studio Ghibli

An elderly couple raise a girl who’s not of this world in a lovely, glacially told gem from animator Isao Takahata, the 78-year-old cofounder with Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli. The 10th-century Japanese folktale provides an ideal tableau for Takahata to express his sweet wise-man melancholy about the passage of time and his love for the pastoral. His abstract style—you can see the pencil lines and watercolor blots—evokes a magical old storybook drawn on papyrus paper. A-