Grave of Fireflies-Movie Review

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Grave of Fireflies

Dir. Isao Takahata
PG, SUBTITLED JAPAN 1998, 93 MIN

Isao Takahata's grim tale of the aftermath of a WWII bombing in Japan remains one of the most powerful anti-war statements ever committed to celluloid.

When an air raid decimates their entire village, Seito and his 4-year old sister are left orphaned and homeless, and left to fend for themselves among a ravaged countryside and a disillusioned people. But they don't find the physical desolation nearly as devastating as the selfishness they encounter from their countrymen on a daily basis.

With its muted, earthy colors and subtle animation style, the film is a stunning aesthetic achievement that stands among the most towering examples of Japanimation. At times joyous and carefree, even the happy scenes are underscored by grief but the two protagonists overcome the hopelessness of the situation with their steadfast devotion to each other.

Like Elem Klimov's Come and See, Grave of the Fireflies is a brutal coming-of-age story about the loss of innocence when confronted with the inhumanity of war.

Kier-La Janisse


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