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Comment count is 17
HarrietTubmanPI - 2016-02-23

This dub isn't great, and I prefer the Japanese speech with subtitles.

One of the saddest (yet most beautiful) movies I've ever seen. A lot of people fail to understand the meaning behind this film. It's not an anti-war movie. It's simply an apology from a brother who lost his sister during the end of the war. It also is one of the few sad movies that takes you through the full process of grieving. You not only get to know the characters and who they are, but you're given time to grieve over their deaths - especially Setsuko. I knew going in what was going to happen to the characters, but I cared about them enough that I was still hoping they would make it through alive. Even though they are both animated characters, they are the most realistic animated characters I've ever seen in any animated film. It's also a movie I encourage you to watch at least twice, if you can handle it, simply so you can realize that yes there is sadness, but in spite of that Seita and Setsuko did end up as spirits together for eternity, and Japan did recover.

Roger Ebert's review says more eloquently what I cannot say. If you haven't seen this movie, brace yourself, set aside time, and just watch it. You'll be glad you did.

StanleyPain - 2016-02-23

Well, yes and no. It was made by Japanese people, some of whom were old enough to remember living WWII, and in true Japanese fashion, the film's "meaning" is meant to criticize the "lazy" attitudes of young people who don't respect older people and understand their struggles. The misery of the boy and his sister is meant to be the result of his unwillingness to make sacrifices and work properly to make amends with his family, thus everything his his fault.
People with more empathy see the film as "anti-war", but of course that's not what it's about, unfortunately. It's about blaming the kids not the war, because, of course, nationalism is still a cancer in Japanese society and even though it's been thoroughly established that all of Japan's WWII woes were because of how they were dragged into a global conflict by a horrible government based on religious mania (the Emperor is a God, etc.) and garbage ancient "traditions", there are still loads of Japanese who will never admit it or discuss it with any intellectual honesty.

Waugh - 2016-02-23

for fuck's sake

HarrietTubmanPI - 2016-02-23

I don't think you have any idea what you're talking about. The film criticizes the behavior of most of the adults - from how callous they are when Seita's mother dies, to how cruel his aunt is, to the farmer who doesn't care that his aunt was abusive, to the guy who gives him the basket to cremate Setsuko's body and doesn't really care about who's body will be cremated.

And blind nationalism isn't some strictly Japanese disease that only caused the Japanese people to do bad things. I'm also pretty sure they paid a heavy price for it, and have probably learned more about war than the US has. I'm not sure what country you live in, but I would be very surprised if you have grandparents who were firebombed, parents who were burned with Napalm, or entire segments of your family wiped out simply because they were living at the wrong place and at the wrong time - and they weren't even fighting in the war that killed them.

TheGrungle - 2016-02-23

nah harriet. the director has gone on record saying that the two children have a garbage life because of their own self-imposed isolation, and that seita should have just apologized to his aunt.

dunno what the actual author of the story thinks, except he apparently feels an unreal amount of guilt.

EvilHomer - 2016-02-23

"A lot of people fail to understand the meaning behind this film"
"I don't think you have any idea what you're talking about"


Mr Pain and Mr Grungle are correct. I don't know where you're getting your information from, Harriet, but Mr Takahata has always maintained that the fault lay with the children, not the adults. "Grave of the Fireflies" is primarily a criticism of the (then contemporary) breakdown of family and social tradition, and if you didn't pick up on that, then perhaps you should watch it a third time? When you do so, try to forget that you are a Westerner carrying a bag full of post-modern Western notions regarding war films and the nature of generational conflict. Furthermore, I have no idea why you felt the need to misrepresent what SP said, as he nowhere claimed that "blind nationalism is some strictly Japanese disease". Of course it isn't. Romantic nationalism is, however, an idea which many Japanese people ascribe to - including Mr Takahata.

THAT SAID, you are, of course, free to read any meaning into the film which you like! Just so long as you remember that your reading is not necessarily in keeping with the author's intent, and you don't accuse people who DO understand the film of being idiots (because that would be a) impolite, and b) ironic)

Waugh - 2016-02-23

it's so great that wikipedia and google have made every fucking nerd an expert on everything

HarrietTubmanPI - 2016-02-23

Yeah everyone has to be an expert. Maybe I'm wrong, but even if the director said that it was Seita's fault, what if it really wasn't? What if the director was just trying to portray the original author's guilt?

I've been wrong about lots of things, but I personally had a different interpretation of the film in spite of what the director went on record as saying. Does that make my interpretation wrong? Why must there be only one correct interpretation of a work of art?

If you interpret it one way, that's fine. I just seem to see things differently. That's all.

cognitivedissonance - 2016-02-23

Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh (/ˈɑːrθər ˈiːvlɪn ˈsɪndʒən wɔː/; 28 October 1903 10 April 1966), known by his pen name Evelyn Waugh, was an English writer of novels, biographies and travel books; he was also a prolific journalist and reviewer of books. His most famous works include the early satires Decline and Fall (1928) and A Handful of Dust (1934), the novel Brideshead Revisited (1945) and the Second World War trilogy Sword of Honour (195261). As a writer, Evelyn Waugh is recognised as one of the great prose stylists of the English language in the 20th century.[citation needed]
The son of a publisher, Waugh was educated at Lancing College and then at Hertford College, Oxford, and briefly worked as a schoolmaster before becoming a full-time writer. As a young man, he acquired many fashionable and aristocratic friends, and developed a taste for country house society. In the 1930s, he travelled extensively, often as a special newspaper correspondent; thus was he reporting from Abyssinia at the time of the 1935 Italian invasion. He served in the British armed forces throughout the Second World War (193945), first in the Royal Marines and then in the Royal Horse Guards. He was a perceptive writer who used the experiences and the wide range of people he encountered in his works of fiction, generally to humorous effect; Waugh's detachment was such that he fictionalised his own mental breakdown, which occurred in the early 1950s.
After the failure of his first marriage, Waugh converted to Catholicism in 1930. His traditionalist stance led him to strongly oppose all attempts to reform the Church; the changes by the Second Vatican Council (196265) greatly disturbed his sensibilities, especially the introduction of the vernacular Mass. That blow to his religious traditionalism, his dislike for the welfare state culture of the postwar world, and the decline of his health, darkened his final years; nonetheless, he continued to write. To the public, Waugh displayed a mask of indifference, but he was capable of great kindness to those he considered his friends.
After his death in 1966, Evelyn Waugh acquired a following of new readers, because of their exposure to the film and television versions of his works, such as the television serial Brideshead Revisited (1981).

TheGrungle - 2016-02-23

who even said they agreed with takahata's viewpoint, though.. you were just saying stuff about the intent behind the film that ain't true!

TheGrungle - 2016-02-23

taht said takahata is a mutant scumnoid

HarrietTubmanPI - 2016-02-24

I honestly don't know who is replying to what anymore. This thread has just become one giant fustercluck.

EvilHomer - 2016-02-24

If it would help anyone, here are some quotes from the director himself regarding the purpose of the film:

[The interviewer suggested that maybe people thought that the movie was just about the past and it just inspired their nostalgia.]

Takahata: That was regrettable. I intended to depict the boy in Grave as a contemporary boy, rather than a boy in that time. He doesn't bear with hardships. When the aunt threatens him by saying "OK, let's have meals separately," he is rather relieved. He thinks that it's easier to eat by themselves than to bear with the discrimination from his aunt. As a result, his life becomes harder. Such a feeling is closer to the one held by today's kids. I made the movie by thinking what would happen if a kid today was suddenly sent to that time through time machine. So, I didn't intend it to be retrospective or nostalgic.

[An excerpt from what Takahata wrote in the Grave of the Fireflies theater program.]

Today, the bonds among family members and the sense of community among neighbors have been weakened. Instead, we are protected by the several layers of social protection/control. We put mutual noninterference as the basis of our relationships, and try to find our own tenderness in playful but inessential consideration towards others. It doesn't have to be a war. If a big disaster hits us and the social restraints are destroyed, without an idea that makes people help each other or cooperate, it would be inevitable that people will become wolves towards others in such raw human relationships. It shadders me to think that I can be on either side. Even if one tries to escape from human relationships and tries to live alone with his sister, how many boys, or people, can keep sustaining their sisters as long as Seita did?


HarrietTubmanPI - 2016-02-24

The last quote doesn't sound like he's blaming Seita specifically. He's blaming the shattering of the family. In the case of the movie, it could be the Aunt's fault too. Or it could be the firebombs. I feel there's a lot of nuance in what you posted that some people here just aren't picking up on.

Waugh - 2016-02-24

you people contaminate everything you touch

Waugh - 2016-02-23


gmol - 2016-02-23

On a related note, I felt like crying 10s of pages into Barefoot Gen.

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