Grave of the Fireflies
by Isao Takahata – Japan, 1988
(85', Japanese with Italian subtitles)
The second World War is ending, and over Japanese’s skies the loud American bombardiers B-25 announce the imminent devastation. A rain of incendiary bombs tears the city of Kobe apart, spreading terror among civilians. 14-year-old Seita watches powerless the massacre which took away his father, a navy’s captain fallen in battle, and his mother. The boy, fighting against hunger and misery, will have to take care of his little sister Setsuko in the middle of a broken world.
Takahata, inspired by the semi-autobiographic novel of Akiyuki Nosaka, faces with crude realism, without any rhetoric, the horrors of war shown trough two young innocent eyes, touching every chord of emotion. Light and darkness merge in this masterpiece that reflects the ambiguity of life itself.
Director, screenwriter, producer, and co-founder of Studio Ghibli with his friend and colleague Hayao Miyazaki. Praised by international critic for his amazing sensibility, he is considered one of the cornerstones of an entire way of doing animation. His interests in cinema history and studies of French literature met when, in 1953, La Bergére et le ramoneur by Grimault and Prèvert aired, which represents a true enlightenment for young Takahata, the starting point to explore all that animation can do.