Director: Isao Takahata
Stars: Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi
While many war films focus on the overblown heroics and jingoistic bravado of their country of origin, Grave of the Fireflies gives audiences a civilian's perspective with a story about the firebombing of Kobe by the U.S. during WWII. The movie follows siblings Seita and Setsuko as they try to survive during the raids on their city, but with no firm shelter and a dwindling supply of food, the future is dim.
During the course of the film, they see loved ones die and their home be torn apart by the machines of war, but still they forge on. It may be animated, but this movie is based on real historical events with a focus on the mass of innocents that suffer during war. Again, an animated feature from the East shows us that with a bit of humanity and creativity, these movies can be as real as anything else on the screen. —JS