Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Grave of the Fireflies

In the return of my Studio Ghibli films, I chose to write about "Grave of the Fireflies", directed by Isao Takahata. This movie takes place towards the end of World War Two, in a war torn Kobe, Japan after a recent fire bombing. Fire bombing is the use of incendiaries to burn down buildings and is cheaper than using regular bombs. In the opening scene, you see the body of Seita in Sannomiya Station, in rags and dying of starvation, all around are bodies of children dead or dying of starvation as well. A janitor comes and sifts through Seita's possessions and finds a candy tin containing ashes and bones.He throws it out and from the tin springs forth the spirits of the two orphans, and a cloud of fireflies. The movie focuses on two orphans who recently lost their mother, and their father is a captain in the japanese navy, feared to be dead. The two orphans, Seita (fourteen years old) and his younger sister Setsuko (four years old), must struggle to survive on their own after a short time spent with a distant aunt. The aunt welcomes them in, but as food rations and other issues come up, the aunt gets increasingly resentful, going as far as to openly complain about how they do nothing to earn the food she makes for them. After a time, the two orphans leave their relatives and move into an abandoned bomb shelter, where Setsuko slowly start to die of malnutrition. To try to save her, Seita begins to steal from a local farmer but is soon caught and severally beaten. After his sister dies, you find out that the ashes and bones from the beginning of the movie are his sisters remains. The movie ends with the two siblings, healthy and well-dressed, sitting side-by-side on a train, looking down in the modern day Kobe.

This movie is actually one of the few things to actually touch me on an emotional level and I will admit, I did cry a little. I apologize but I am unsure of the english voice actors. This movie is,, to me, about the horrors of war and what people do to survive in a war torn country. It is about the loss of innocence when all one is trying to do is survive and protecting their family. This movie is truly powerful and I recommend watching it (with a box of tissues mind you).

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the movie tip, Will. The last one I saw is Ponyo. I love the visuals.