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: Resources
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.
You want to go to college but you don’t know how you’re going to afford it. Perhaps you’re already IN college but need more help paying the bills so you can focus on your studies. There are a lot of FREE resources available to help you out. Every year lots of money set aside for scholarships goes un-used. Here are some links to help you get connected with some funding sources to pay for your education:
First – become familiar with American Student Assistance. They are located in the Central Library right in Copley Square! “Boston-area students planning for higher education can come to a College Planning Center for guidance on choosing a college, applying for financial aid and scholarships, managing money, and choosing a major or a career. We also offer college guidebooks, study aids, computer access for college research, and information on GED, ESL and technical/vocational education opportunities.” Their phone number is 617-536-0200.
The United States Department of Education web site has a page all about FUNDING YOUR EDUCATION. Naturally, it has a link to “Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid“. It also has an in-direct link to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Office of Student Financial Assistance. The page also contains this very wise advice” you can find out about nonfederal scholarships and other sources of aid in several ways, including contacting the financial aid offices at the schools you plan to attend and checking information in a public library or online.
Sallie Mae, the Fortune 500 company that manages $188 billion in educational loans and serves 10 million student and parent customers.
Scholarships.com is a constantly updated site that claims to be the “largest free and independent college scholarship search and financial aid information resource on the Internet”. Their site allows students to search 2.7 million college scholarships and grants worth over $19 billion and quickly arrive at a list of awards for which they qualify. And it’s all free.
The United States Department of Agriculture offers student programs, scholarships, and internships. Details are online here.
Many non-profit organizations offer special scholarships. As always, you’ll want to pay close attention to what their requirements are and make sure you get everything in before their various deadlines. Here are a few to get you started:
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund works to develop and prepare a new generation of leaders by providing leadership development, scholarships, resources, opportunities and advocacy to Public Historically Black Colleges & Universities, students and alumni.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association offers information to future college sports players.
For 40+ years the American Political Science Association has offered a minority fellowship program in efforts to increase the number of minority scholars in the discipline.
The National Association of Black Journalists annually awards more than $60,000 in scholarshipsto deserving students interested in pursuing careers in journalism.
Current students interested in studying abroad should definitely check out the SIT Graduate Institute. Among lots of other resources, they offer a list of funding sources for international study.
It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness: Students in undergraduate and graduate programs at accredited colleges and universities are invited to interpret the message and mission of the Christophers in short films of five minutes or less. Every year for the past 25+ years they award prizes up to $2,000 to their favorites.
The Ayn Rand Institute awards $81,250 in prize money each year to the winners of its essay contests.
The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation awards grants to Gates Millennium Scholars. This years recipients are currently being notified (the deadline passed in January). Among other requirements, recipients of this money are African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian and Pacific Islander American, or Hispanic American; have attained a cumulative GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale (un-weighted); and have demonstrated leadership abilities through participation in community service, extracurricular or other activities.
HomeAdvisor is challenging students to break new ground in green home improvement by offering a scholarship every year to one student. High school seniors accepted to a college or trade school or any student currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program at any accredited college, university or trade school in the United States are qualified to apply by submitting a 1,000 to 2,000 word essay. Find more information about this scholarship here.
The Society of Women Engineers Scholarships support women pursuing ABET-accredited baccalaureate or graduate programs in preparation for careers in engineering, engineering technology and computer science in the United States and Mexico. Find more information here.
American Dental Education Association offers scholarships, awards and fellowships for students here.
Best Medical Assistant Programs has a $500 scholarship for one lucky college student looking to go into the medical field. Check out their scholarship page for more information.
Many corporations also offer scholarships to students. Some are available only to children of employees, some only to employees themselves, and yet others are available to the general public. You should always check with any company you and your parents have any relationship to see what if anything they have available. A few companies that offer money to the general public (with restrictions of course – read the fine print) follow.
Xerox also offers a Technical Minority Scholarship of $1,000 to $10,000 to qualified minorities enrolled in a technical degree program at the bachelor level or above.
The Coca-Cola Company has awarded more than $38 million in scholarships. In addition, their First Generation Scholarship program has awarded more than $19 million in scholarships to support students who are the first in their immediate families to go to college.
(Please note, this is a repost of a 2010 blog post with updated links and information.)
The Boston Public Library is conducting a systemwide assessment of the programs and services we offer to young people. Please help us but completing this brief survey.
The survey will be available from Monday, February 25, 2013 to Sunday, March 17, 2013.
Thank you for your time!
If you’re between the ages 15-18 and are looking for a summer job, HOPELINE registration for Boston Youth Fund (BYF) Summer Jobs starts today, February 1 and lasts until March 3.
If you need computer time to apply, visit your closest teen librarian and someone will help you out.