Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Grave of the Fireflies

This is the legendary anti war movie, 1988 anime movie written and directed by Isao Takahata for Studio Ghibli.

story based on the partially-autobiographical book of the same title by
Akiyuki NOSAKA, who lost his little sister during the war to malnutrition.

The set is the end of World War II in Japan, Grave of the Fireflies is the poignant tale of the relationship between two orphaned children, Seita (清太) and his younger sister Setsuko (節子). The children lose their mother in the firebombing of Kobe, and their father in service to the Imperial Japanese Navy, and as a result they are forced to try to survive . Setsuko eventually dies from malnutrition, and the graphic nature of suffering and death is uniquely harrowing in the annals of anime. the simple but strong story,about how war change japanese culture, everyone work for the country, and children who's not work, doesn't have a chance to live, selfisme become a new culture.The story is one of personal trial in the midst of a society which has no resources to help two orphans out of many, and the choices made by a boy who is in over his head.

At first glance, one might get the idea that Grave of the Fireflies is some kind of anti-American propaganda. In truth, it is nearly the opposite. Although the children fall victim to the hardships brought on by the war, no Americans ever show up, and they are rarely mentioned. If anything, on one level, this movie could be seen as a metaphor for the entire country of Japan during the war: fighting a losing battle, yet too stubbornly proud to admit defeat or accept help.

Similarly, it can be seen as a condemnation of pride; the story is based on a semi-autobiographical novel written by a man who survived the war on the homefront, but whose younger sister died of starvation while in his care. On that level, it may have been a sort of catharsis, harshly depicting the result of Seita's unwillingness to seek help or resort to theft to obtain food, and ultimately allowing his grief to consume and punish him--something that never happened to the real person--for that decision. Metaphor and symbolism aside, the enemy in this movie is painted as the kind of human weaknesses that come from and even create war: pride, the suspicion that falls upon two children trying to live on their own, and the prejudice leveled against a healthy young man who doesn't want to fight.

Grave of the Fireflies is a masterwork--the animation, though extremely subdued, is fluid and surprisingly realistic; just watching the everyday acts animated in this movie gave me a new appreciation of animation as an art form. Try taking the time to really watch the animation in a few scenes--you might be surprised. The art is not spectacular, but is well done, and has a slightly old-fashioned style that works well. teh fireflies itself has decorated they life, sleep in the shelter, with no light, no family, they collected fireflies, and let them shine in their space called bedroom, very cool art..

This is the strong movie, touching your humanity, and make us realize that war isn't the answer.

1 Comment:

cselvalva said...

Waa.. I have my own review about this movie too. I'll post it on my blog next time