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Grave of the Firelfies


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Junkerseed commented on this one before, couldnt find the thread...

 

As previously commented, this is one of those ones that, if you arent moved by it somehow, you're prolly the child of satan or something.

Isao Takahata's anti-war masterpiece is not for those looking for anything near a feel-good movie. Produced by Studio Ghibi (Miyazaki's studio, i believe, famous for "Spirited Away", "Princess Mononoke", "My Neighbor Totoro", "Kiki's Delivery Service", etc), this one took many awards, and not just for its smooth animation.

The film revolves around 14-year old Seita and his 4-year old sister Setsuko, trying to stay alive in Japan during the firebombing of Kobe near WW II's end.

Borrowing from a review at IMDB.com (dont go there, it spoils like crazy)...

"Though despairing, the film does not resort to cheap melodrama to achieve its effect but delineates simple and direct images that are not watered-down to appeal to the children's market.

...they must struggle against starvation, the cruelty of an aunt they trusted, people's general indifference, and their own pride.

...the animation is so lyrical that it creates a magical, dream-like effect. This does not mask the tragedy but makes it all the more poignant. "

 

The only thing i can add to it is that one shouldnt go in expecting anti-american propoganda; the truth is, this one takes an almost objective view to the war. The battle itslef takes a backseat to the characters; the anti-war theme is dealt heavily in showing its effects on non-participants. As the other review said, though, it does this gracefully and without coming off preachy.

To say more would be to spoil - catch this one if youre given the oppotunity.

 

19GRAVEFIREFLIES.jpg

 

PS those of you so inclined should see the anime music video of this movie to Sting - "Fragile"...one of the better ones ive seen as well.

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I absolutely loved this movie. One of my favorite animes, and one of my favorite war movies. I like the fact that it treats war almost as a force of nature, because that's what it is for lots of people, you just fucking see planes one day, you have very little say in the matter. For me, this movie did some few others do, which is show you how great simply living can be, and then you see how easily it can be blinked out. The title firefly scene is especially perfect. I'll wait for more viewings before I say it's a masterpeice, but few movies have moved me like this one.

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Junker nailed it for me...the portrayl of war shows the citizens as little more than ants. The scenes of the title's analogy are some of its most brilliant moments.

Perhaps i should reserve the word "masterpiece" but ill expand on the claim.

Takahata's animation & storytelling style are very simliar to Miyazaki's, so much so that i wasnt aware it wasnt him at first. Miyazaki often hanldes far more lighthearted subjects (as in Totoro), but Mononoke for example was a bit darker. For me, among the key elements in his movies are the ability to evict a higher level of emotion from animated characters than most anime - its in the details like facial expressions, body language etc. The natural flow of children in his movies is really impressive. Another element is his use of this technique to - as Dan put it - illustate simply living. Many other anime movies have far more dialouge, I find surprisingly little in his, yet the characters are often still granted a dimension many other anime sadly lack. Watching Setsuko play with an umbrella in the rain says a great deal more than dialogue might, i think.

The difference was that Takahata took this style and applied it to an emotionally stirring japanese autobiography, and from what ive read on it, he let his character's actions, gestures, expressions etc tell much of the tale for him. That's what i find so impressive about this one..

Both Ghost in the Shell and Akira, for instance, have a strong plot s(with odd transitions outside of the manga). Both have superior animation styles, courtesy of Masamune Shirow and Katsuhiro Otomo, 2 of anime/manga's most famous artists. Both (especially Ghost) have a great deal of dialogue at many parts of the movie; im not saying they have to much so, but Grave of the Fireflies utilizes its far more simplistic art to express what the other ones couldn't. (its not quite analogous unless youre looking at these 3 from the standpoint of visual storytelling alone).

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I bought this one a month or so ago based on Junker's recommendation. I forget where I reviewed it, but it's true, this movie is like The Schindler's List of anime. Junker's going to come on now and tell me how this movie is not like Schindler's List, but don't take that comparison too seriously.

 

Don't watch this movie with subtitles! You won't be able to read them through all your tears!

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Guest Yahve

Whoever doesn't cry their eyes out during this flick should be gutted open and checked for vital signs. Such a sad but beautiful film. So much hope, incredible what it can do eh.

 

To those who haven't seen it: What the hell are you doing here, drop what your doing and go rent this at BlockBuster. Go.

 

Go now!

 

I mean it GO.

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Im not sure if they do, i know Netflix.com does...i saw it courtesy of Chihiro's Miyazaki studio box set she left over here for me...if youre ever out by FIU Junkerseed would prolly be happy to lend it to you, i think you might enjoy it.

ps its good to see you round again, if even for a bit.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 1 year later...

:2T::birf::misty:

Oh my god. what a sad sad sad SAD and very touching anime.

 

I saw this anime about two days ago... I've been putting off posting my review on it, cuz just by looking at the image IC put up made me cry. But now I have tougher skin. So now, let's give this a whirl...

 

I absolutely loved this movie. One of my favorite animes, and one of my favorite war movies. I like the fact that it treats war almost as a force of nature, because that's what it is for lots of people, you just fucking see planes one day, you have very little say in the matter. For me, this movie did some few others do, which is show you how great simply living can be, and then you see how easily it can be blinked out. The title firefly scene is especially perfect. I'll wait for more viewings before I say it's a masterpeice, but few movies have moved me like this one.

 

Junker you're right, Living in the style they adapted to was simple, but very tough... Shit I can't imagine going through something of that nature with my lil sister. That whole scene with the firefly was spectacular, it gave me a sense of wonder and imagination... how innocent and beautiful those simple moments can be.

 

I would have to say this is a masterpiece. Annti-war film indeed!

 

 

Don't watch this movie with subtitles! You won't be able to read them through all your tears!

 

Dido! Right there with you... I'm already a pretty damn sensitive person, but shit, this movie made me SOB! I had to put my arm around my eyes cause I was so chocked up and the tears just came rolling down... :misty:

 

A warning to all: You're tears will continue to fall even after the credits, but you will love every single moment.

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We use to show this at the anime club at FIU every now and then. The only advice I would give people before we started showing it was that they should go get something to eat and finish it before it started. Along with the sadness and depretion, watching the movie will also make you hungry... and then you will feel ashamed for being hungry.

 

Now if you really want to drive an audience to suicide show Barefoot Gen first then Grave of the Fireflies.

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Now if you really want to drive an audience to suicide show Barefoot Gen first then Grave of the Fireflies.

 

 

 

I think people will go mad first then it's on to suicide if you watch it in that order. Grave of the Fireflies is upbeat compare to Barefoot Gen.

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I think people will go mad first then it's on to suicide if you watch it in that order. Grave of the Fireflies is upbeat compare to Barefoot Gen.

 

I thought Gen had a more upbeat ending? Could be wrong, haven't watched it in about ten years and can't remember much about how it ended... but I've seen Grave of the Fireflies enough times recently and can't imagine and ending much worse than the hopelessness, despair and death of the narrator. Grave of the Fireflies is a flashback and the movie starts with him dying. Sunset Boulevard-ish kinda now that I think about it.

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Heard the name, never seen it.

 

Barefoot Gen:anime636tc.jpg

Drawn from Keiji Nakazaw’a true life experiences surrounding the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima during the summer of 1945, Barefoot Gen tells the story of one family’s struggle to survive in the aftermath of one of World War II’s defining moments.

 

As the film begins, six-year-old Gen has lived nearly his entire life in the shadow of war – a war fought in distant lands far away from the life he knew with his family in his native Japan. Yet, nothing he had ever experienced would prepare him for the horrors which follow the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

 

Legendary animation producer Masao Maruyama has created a critically acclaimed adaptation of Nakezawa’s autobiographical graphic novel. Barefoot Gen remains a vivid, poignant, powerful and authentic document of this milestone event. In bringing Nakazawa’s memories to life through animation, with haunting images forever etched in out minds, Maruyama has made a masterpiece and an advocacy for future world peace.

Image and description from Animenfo.com

 

There apparently was a second one, too: http://www.animenfo.com/animetitle,2948,sg...foot_gen_2.html

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  • 4 months later...
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  • 2 months later...

I saw the DVD special features and the director though the story couldn't work in live action because

 

» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «
the idea of seeing a naive 5 year old main character slowly die of starvation and malnutrition would be so shocking, that the complexities of the movie would lost.
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