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As the Empire of the Sun crumbles upon itself and a rain of firebombs falls upon Japan, the final death march of a nation is echoed in millions of smaller tragedies. This is the story of Seita and his younger sister Setsuko, two children born at the wrong time, in the wrong place, and now cast adrift in a world that lacks not the care to shelter them, but simply the resources. Forced to fend for themselves in the aftermath of fires that swept entire cities from the face of the earth, their doomed struggle is both a tribute to the human spirit and the stuff of nightmares. Beautiful, yet at times brutal and horrifying.
Isao Takahata's powerful antiwar film has been praised by critics wherever it has been screened around the world. When their mother is killed in the firebombing of Tokyo near the end of World War II, teenage Seita and his little sister Setsuko are left on their own: their father is away, serving in the Imperial Navy. The two children initially stay with an aunt, but she has little affection for them and resents the time and money they require. The two children set up housekeeping in a cave by a stream, but their meager resources are quickly exhausted, and Seita is reduced to stealing to feed his sister. Despite his efforts, she succumbs to malnutrition. Seita painfully makes his way back to the crowded city, where he quietly dies in a crowded railway station. The strength of the film lies in Takahata's evenhanded portrayal of the characters. A sympathetic doctor, the greedy aunt, the disinterested cousins all know there is little they can do for Seita and Setsuko. Their resources, like their country's, are already overtaxed: anything they spare endangers their own survival. As in Barefoot Gen, no mention is made of Japan's role in the war as an aggressor; but the depiction of the needless suffering endured by its victims transcends national and ideological boundaries. Takahata's extraordinary film suggests a flower on the grave of countless children who, like Seika and Setsuko, died needlessly in wars they neither fought nor understood. (Unrated: suitable for ages 12 and older, violence, emotionally intense material) --Charles Solomon
A beautiful told yet horrifically heart wrenching film based on a true story dealing with the very real effects war has on people. Read morePublished 4 hours ago by That Girl
This is definitely a must see movie for everyone. It's very sad and tragic but shows what wars can do to innocent victims. Read morePublished 1 day ago by cas
This is the worst movie I have ever wasted a few hours watching and could not wait to get it out of my possession. The small child in the U.S. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Earthling
One of my all time favorites movies. Great story line and make sure you grab a box of tissue.Published 29 days ago by Kou Lee
Grave of the Fireflies is one of my favorite movies of all time. I must have seen it at least 5 times by now, but it still manages to bring me to tears. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Gihoon Song
That's how a full grown man cry like a little bitch after this movie... who was meant for my kids...
Appreciate what u have.... Read more
Brilliant movie that suffers from terrible voice acting. Also, as an older brother of sisters, I find the protagonist's actions reprehensible. Read morePublished 1 month ago by S. C. Stroud