I tear up every time I watch it, goes to show what true brotherly love can lead to in the cruel acts of war. along with the others it's one of Ghibli's best films, he's done others, but this one is outstanding. and since he hand draws everything and doesn't do computer/cgi work makes me respect the man even more to producing such a lovely work of art. there's a lot which isn't mainstream, sometimes if you can't see it on tv it's like it never happened or something :/
maybe studio ghibli doesnt really care about advertising, and if that's the case, its a serious mistake. they seriously chug out masterpieces every year from EXTREMELY talented artists, to get little or no recognition at all.
There's a movie kind of like it, which I have not seen yet, but is rumored to be far better than Grave of the Fireflies. "Barefoot Gen". Just putting it up there.
I liked Grave of the Fireflies. It depicts the savagery of war well. It exposes the blurred line between good and bad during times of war. Is there really a country who's unquestionably good or are both sides just blood thirsty war monsters massacring innocent and guilty alike? . . . But this was never the focus. Just a cool side to the movie. I didn't cry though.
The movie itself was a bit melodramatic, but with good reason. It's about the bonds of siblings. I heavily sympathized (since I too have only one sister) and found the decisions made by Seita organically connected to his psychology, his nation's psychology, and his upbringing. It was tragic (if anything, the melodrama was the directional fault, not one of plotting) but well made and well deserving of praise.
Although I admit it's a very sad and based on many truths of WWII, and I admit the animations are really good. Call me heartless, hipster, or ignorant, but I might be the several few people who did not shed any tears when watching the movie. I understand the two protagonists are naive young children but they actually did not have to experience such horrible lives if they listened to their relatives who adopted them into that house in the mid part of the movie. I think that's what made me not cry.
I think the main reason why people often get teary-eyed with this movie (myself included) is not the deaths themselves, but rather what happens to the little sister. After all, it's basically her brother's fault she dies as he is the one who ultimately makes the decision to leave as her sister is far too young to be making relevant decisions about survival. It's the brother who believes he can live on his own and take care of his sister and have fun, only to end up flaundering in his own selfish pride. But the sister is an innocent who trusts her brother and ends up paying for it through no real fault of her own. That's the tearjerker part, not so much the death part itself as it is hard to really feel sympathetic to the brother's willful mistakes.
And that's basically what the film is really all about. It is a criticism on the selfishness of modern youths (or at least the youths of late 1980s Japan) who felt self-entitled enough to act against the common good and offer nothing constructive to society. It's really Takahata pointing his finger at the young people of his day and using the girl's death as a symbolic message of what he saw as destructive behaviour in current Japanese life. Though, of course, one can still watch the movie as a searing anti-war film if you discard the context in which the movie was made (Akira also deals with the same period reflections with its biker gangs taking over the roads amid a large city's crumbling and corrupt infrastructure), but Grave is still intended to be much more a moralistic film than really a war movie, even if it is slightly based on an autobiographical book (though the author obviously didn't himself die as in the film).
Exactly. The difference is, because I know it's the brother's fault--and it could've been better, that's why I did not get teary eyes (that does not mean I'm not touched or sad. I do acknowledge the goodness (err..including sad and ironic things) of the movie. I just happened not to cry knowing it's all because of her brother's fault O_O).
About the critic, I actually did not think or searched that far. I understand it has moralistic and anti-war message but I didn't know it was actually intended to critic modern youths. That was a very good insight. Thanks
Yeah, the cultural environment in Japan in the late '80s was one of the big reasons why Takahata made the film in the first place. He saw the country being over-ridden with young people who didn't care about Japan, didn't trust the government, and were riding on a self-entitled wave of non-conformity and disrespect over the older generations. Also youth crimes and gang violence was at an all time high in the country, so in that way Grave was - to put it blatantly - supposed to make the audience feel guilty about their own behaviour. Seita's departure and refusal to help the country in its time of need acted perhaps the most obvious parallel to Takahata's criticism, a person who'd rather loaf around and do nothing until he was forced to pay the price of his own transgressions, and then himself miserably dies in a forlorn train station, ragged with guilt.
Of course, for us "westerners" this is something easily missed if you didn't happen to live in Japan at the time or follow current events in the country, so the anti-war message and the general condemnation of personal hubris are things much more easily appreciated when you don't know the historical context. Personally I still love this film despite its blatant fingerpointing and consider it one of the best of the Ghibli canon, but there are also many who don't like the movie specifically for Takahata's original reasons, seeing the film as an overly sentimental guilt trip that does its very best to make you feel bad, while the director sits on top of a moralistic high horse condemning you.
But even knowing this, I still very much enjoy (if "enjoy" is an appropriate word to use here) the movie and can easily just ignore the context in favour of watching it as a sad war movie where there are no real winners. But I'll still acknowledge Takahata's intentions as they are part of the movie's makeup, be those what they are and take those as you will.