Grave of the Fireflies is a bleak film; maybe one of the bleakest… MoreGrave of the Fireflies is a bleak film; maybe one of the bleakest about war and its consequences. But this is ultimately a film, not about war per se, but rather about memory and oblivion, personal story and national history. The protagonists are shown as ghosts in the end of the film wandering against the background of Tokyo, which seems to have been modernized after the war. This is not an optimistic image, as in that there is afterlife and the brother and sister are together at last, but rather a symbolic one that shows the 'forgotten' and their personal story, excluded by history, which moves on. History cannot accomodate in its memory all the personal stories of its victims who die early as fireflies do. That's why in the beginning of the film we see the protagonist half-dead being made fun of by passersby who expect the Americans to come and bring the new order after Japan's defeat. It is this lack of any justice even on the level of memory that makes the film so emotionally devastating and counterbalances the melodrama. It is the fact that there is suffering but a suffering that is not known by anyone except from the sufferer, that never reaches the public sphere to become a narrative with meaning that works as its justification; the protagonists are denied being 'heroes' in their suffering. Of course their story becomes known to the viewer and that is the magic of film. Takahata escapes all the pitfalls of melodrama, despite the basic story can easily be described as that, also by subtly showing us details of the landscape instead of focusing on the characters too much in moments of tension. The best film of Studio Ghibli!
It can't get worse than this. At least there is a redeeming quality in… MoreIt can't get worse than this. At least there is a redeeming quality in this film: you can get jokes out of the new low bar it sets in acting and dialogue standards. The ridiculous rating system removes my half-star rating from my facebook timeline for some reason, so I am forced to give it one. What kind of regulation is this? I protest for the sake of quality! Then again, I shouldn't be bothering even rating these kind of films; the sooner the world forgets them, the better.