Movie of the Week: Grave of the Fireflies

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Long time since I had time for movies, but I’m trying to get this back on track now. Based on an autobiographical novel by Akiyuki Nosaka. Directed by Isao Takahata (1988), Grave of the Fireflies is based on a true story in Japan during the late WW II. Although it’s animated and most animated movies have children as their target audience, I’m not quite sure if that was the case with Grave of the Fireflies. It was hard for a grown-up to watch and if I had children, I don’t think I’d want them to see this, although the story sadly is still reality in too many places.

The film begins from the end where the teenage boy Seita starves to death at a train station and then surrounded by fireflies unites with his little sister Setsuko. It tells the story of two children from the city of Kobe that are left homeless by bombings, their mother dies and their father is serving in the navy. They move in with their aunt for a while, but end up living in a cave, where surviving is hard.

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Though the film isn’t particularly violent, the imagery of burned bodies and orphaned children was definitely uncomfortable to watch. It also served as a reminder of how it is possible to find hope and moments of happiness even in the most awful circumstances. And shows how fire and fireflies connected in a sad, yet beautiful way.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

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