Sunday, October 12th, 2003
Grave Of The Fireflies
If someone asks me how I spent my weeks vacation, I’m going to start with, “Discovered Queen Video. Rented movies. Lost track of time”. The main reason I went out and got a DVD player was so I could raid Queen Video’s expansive stock of cool movies.
First up tonight was Grave Of The Fireflies, a historical wartime anime from Studio Ghibli, home to Hiyao Miyazaki’s oeuvre. While most of Miyazaki’s films are fantasies, Fireflies – directed by Isao Takahata and based on the semi-autobiographical book by Akiyuki Nosaka – is set very much in the real world. Taking place at the tail end of World War II, it details the effects of the American firebombing campaign on a 14-year old boy and his 4-year old sister in Kobe, Japan. Orphaned and homeless, the two try to survive in the ruins of their town.
While the interaction between the two is heartwarming and the love and devotion of the siblings is well demonstrated, the tragedy and horror of their circumstances is just so much greater. This movie was truly heartbreaking. It’s a war movie that really has nothing to do with the combatants, only the civilians and its effects on them. The ‘enemy’ is never identified as the Americans, and is only represented by the bombers flying overhead dropping their firebombs. While the events depicted may be almost 60 years old, the themes and truths portrayed are still sadly relevant. A devastatingly effective commentary on the human cost of war.
np – Neko Case / Blacklisted