This older Studio Ghibli film dates from 1988. Grave of the Fireflies, is a tragedy about a young sister and brother and their struggle to survive the fire-bombings of Japan during the Second World War. It is a moving study of humanity’s strengths and weaknesses. Who is your enemy? Who is your family, friend or neighbor? While their father is out at sea with the Japanese navy, their family is further fragmented in a fire-bombing raid. The children seek shelter with extended family but encounter callousness, neglect and exploitation. Some total strangers show more compassion than their own families and the older brother struggles to care for his sister and keep them all alive. The story of these children teaches us all about the horrors of war, and both the angels and demons of human nature. I imagine the title makes reference to the short life and light of fireflies. The artwork shows its age in the rendering style compared to more modern works, but expressions and animation are still top quality Ghibli. The voice acting in the English dub that I saw on Netflix was adequate, but I prefer to listen to the Japanese and read subtitles. This can be challenging during rapid dialog. Audiences should be ready for heartbreak when watching this film. It may be interesting to compare it with The Wind Rises, about the designer of the famous Zero fighter plane. But that recent film deals more with life before the war and Japan’s notable achievement in aeronautics. To me, the most powerful part of Grave of the Fireflies comes at its most cruel moment, when so-called “friends” stoop to staggering depths of avarice and disrespect. Grave of the Fireflies is a great film, but one to be watched with care.
Category Archives: Movies
Featured earlier this month at the Brattle Street Theatre near Harvard Square, The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a splendid new masterpiece from Studio Ghibli. The BPL has several copies on order so place your requests now to borrow a copy when they arrive. Princess Kaguya is a classic Japanese fairy tale about a magical girl who mysteriously appears in a bamboo stalk while an aged bamboo cutter is working in the forest. The tale tells a multifaceted story about family joy and longing, a girl coming of age, and the deeper spiritual mysteries of the human experience. The artwork is revolutionary for studio Ghibli. Set in a more rice paper/watercolor style, the animation, use of light and shadow, and extreme dynamic effects reminiscent of expressionism captivate the viewer throughout the film. The artists employ unique cell work with dappling shadow overlays as the characters interact and move through the bamboo groves and deeper woods. The overall palette of rice paper-style imagery completely immerses the viewer in an authentic Japanese artistic world. The dynamic effects during dream sequences and storm scenes are gripping, even in their minimalism. I strongly recommend this film for all anime fans. Even loyal Studio Ghibli fans will be impressed by this new direction in artistic style. The story is classic and refreshing at the same time. Beyond its imagery, Princess Kaguya is a bold venture into the depths of the human struggle.
If you’re anything like me, sometimes all you want is to look at pages and pages of pictures of awesome people reading. Luckily for me, the Awesome People Reading Tumblr is ready and waiting! Here’s a little taste of what you’ll find there:
Katniss reading on the set of The Hunger Games
Jimi Hendrix, reading while groovy
Ryan Gosling reads the classics
Darth Vader has excellent taste
Nelson Mandela and Michelle Obama kick back with a book
Go see who else has been cracking the covers of a good book at the Awesome People Reading Tumblr!
Last week we tried to show the movie Eclipse, but there was a busted cable to the TV and we were unable to do so. The cable has since been replaced, and this Thursday, we will finally be showing Eclipse!
Come to the Copley Teen Room at 3:30pm on November 17th to reaquaint yourself with the last movie just before the next one comes out!
We also still have a few free Breaking Dawn posters if anyone is interested. They will be left on a table beside the display of Breaking Dawn books until they are gone. First come first served! Better get them fast!
Come to the Teen Room at the Central Library for a Twilight Extravaganza!
We’ll be showing the movie Eclipse!
Marketers for the Twilight series will be on hand with PRIZES and MOVIE TICKETS for Breaking Dawn part 1! So you definitely DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS!!!
There will be a TRIVIA GAME, COSTUME CONTEST, or you can just WEAR RED for the event, if you don’t have a costume.
Everything starts at 3:30pm and happens on November 10th. That’s NEXT THURSDAY! Put it on your calendar, and don’t forget!
We’d love to see you here!