Written and Directed By: Isao Takahata
Based On The Novel By: Akiyuki Nosaka
Staring: Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Yoshiko Shinohara, and Akemi Yamaguchi
Why must fireflies die so young? -Setsuko
I have had this movie recommended to me for years and finally got to sit down and view it from start to finish, and I now have no problem saying this is probably the most profound animated film I have ever seen. Grave Of The Fireflies is gripping from start to finish showing a unique perspective on two orphans surviving a war ridden country. The sorrow and tragedy of their lives and the effect war has on a people is deeply explored through the eyes of these children. It is gut wrenching and heart aching.
The realism of the situation was something I wasn’t prepared for. It really tapped into the sorrow of war and tragedy of real people. With these two small children as the centerpiece, it couldn’t have been more difficult to sit through. The struggle against their own family, and against their own people was dumbfounding. It literally burned my soul to see the awful intolerance for Seita and Setsuko. In our world, we are taught to protect children, and here they had no one but each other.
The characters and story are insanely touching, but I wonder how it would have resonated if it wasn’t animated. The brother and sister relationship has some incredible character dynamics, but it’s intensity is overflowing, and I wonder if people would have been able to suffer threw it, if they showed real children? The animation itself is beautiful, feeling alive, like it’s own universe, and maybe that detachment from reality was all that was needed to be able to tell this story with such honesty.
The intensity and harshness of a nation, actually looking at the result of war rather than the battle. The hopelessness of their situation, and the constant struggle to survive was maddening torture. The coldness of others, and the feeling of solitude delivered in waves of dense melancholy. It’s message was pure and it’s tragedy was impossible not to empathize with.
This isn’t a burst into tears film but it stays with you for a long time. I feel like I have a duty to recommend this movie to everyone, and feel like everyone should see this at least once, even though I’m certain it’s going to be a long time before I can sit and watch it again. This comes with the highest of recommendations from me. This film is incredibly powerful movie that takes you on a journey that you will never forget. Grave Of The Fireflies was riveting and will resonate with me forever.