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Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

So, I finaly watched "Grave of the Fireflies" yesterday. It's one of those movies that a lot of people recomend online, but I kept my distance from because it's known as a sad drama and that's not really what I go for most of the time. I kinda need to be in a certain mood to watch movies like this, so I kept prosponing it. It's also one of those movies that when you finally take the time to watch it, you wonder why the hell you waited so long.

So the idea is that young brother with his his younger sister have to survive in the months before and after the collaps of Imperial Japan in 1945. The opening shot leaves nothing to the imagination on where this movie is heading, it's straightforward on where these people are going to end up and that it won't be a happy ending. The first line of the movie: [i]"September 21, 1945... that was the night I died."[/i], leaves nothing to the imagination. So you know the ending, but how did we get from point A to point B, that's the journey this movie is trying to take you on. After you get the intro, you are brought to a place where things were better for the kids untill disaster strikes. From that point on the kids just don't seem to get a real break, it's nothing but hardship from there on.

But inside this cruel reality, there is also a lot of happiness. The brother is desperatly trying to give his younger sister a happy youth in the best ways he can. It reminded me of "La Vita E Bella" (1997), an Italian movie where a Jewish father tries to keep his child happy while going through all the evils of the persecutions and extermination of the unwanted during World War 2. It also made me think about the doctor in Camus' work "The Plague", who even in the most vile and horrific circumstances can find happiness in the little things in life.

During this journey, there is also another theme playing then just the personal story of these two minors. They grew up in a higher middle class household with the luxuaries that go with it. Their dad is a high ranking officer in the militairy fleet, and their family is respected in the neighbourhood. The moment the kids end up by themselves, civilisation just seems to spit them out. They become a burden and even though they are just kids, people shove them away as if they are filth. In many ways, they aren't even perceived as human beings no more. In the opening shot, it's clear that people are even annoyed by their presence because they are confronted with a phenomena that shouldn't belong in their perception of society. It should not been seen and these kids are pushed under the rug with a few alms and nasty comments. During a desperate scene the brother takes his sister to the doctors to treat her for her ills. According to the doctor, the treatment is easy and can be easily maintained in society... and it's the only moment that brother yells out in desperation: "How should I do that?" ... but no help follows.

Next to the social criticism and the personal dynamic between the two... the artwork is incredible. The pannels are incredibly well made, reflections in the water are amazing, and the light effects are top nodge.

If you want a bit of a sad drama experience in the realm of Japanese animation, well... this is top nodge. It's deff top 10 material and an emotional ride, it's hard and cruel... but it also tells you something about human beings.






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Kwek00 · 36-40, M
[@607184,TheBungler] Well, I didn't cry... but it's an emotional trip, that's for sure.

 
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