Friday, November 13, 2009

Grave of the Fireflies

a.k.a. Hotaru No Haka
Isao Takahata, Japan, 1988, anime (8.4*)
This is a tough film to watch, as it concerns the efforts of two children to survive in Japan in WW2, but is a very poetic war fable, rarely seen in films. While their dad is off in the navy fighting in the Pacific, a young teenage boy, Seita, is forced to take care of his 4 yr old sister, Setsuko, when their mother is killed by U.S. bombers. Times are harsh for everyone, the schools and factories have been bombed, there's no work, little food, and children like this, in both Japan and Europe, had to fend for themselves in order to survive, and many didn't.

This is done without much preaching or propagandising at all, which is one reason this film is #185 on the IMDB top 250, and placed #324 on our compendium of internet film polls. The story is a nice mix of reality and childish fantasy. The animation still has the cheap "doe-eyed" simplicity on the people, but the backgrounds, landscapes, rain, ponds, and fireflies are all very artistically done, and reminded me of early Disney cartoon art (Silly Symphony series) and actually have the quality of full-length films. The story is from a novel by Akiyuku Nosaka, based on that author's real wartime experiences, so it's a universally authentic war tale that is bound to tug the heart of those with compassion for children orphaned by wars, and the struggle of all the innocent civilians facing wartime deprivations.

[Note: one ignorant commentor at IMDB said, "hey, get a job" - typical uncaring American response. Hey dummy, the country had been bombed into oblivion, there were no schools nor jobs available. Are people really this stupid here? Even in our wealthy, non-wartorn society there are few jobs available and we don't have any excuse other than criminals running a system which is not working for the common person.]


About Me

My photo
Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

About This Blog

This is our new template: ProBlogger.

These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

Author at EZines

  © Blogger templates ProBlogger Template by 2008

Back to TOP