Grave of the Fireflies - Movie Review Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  821 Words
Date:  2021-06-21

My favorite film is the Grave of the Fireflies. The film is an animated Japanese drama film set in the backdrop of the Second World War in 1945. The film is produced by Toru hara and directed by Isao Takahata with the animation part done by Studio Ghibli. It tells the story of two children rendered homeless because of the wars and bombs in the city of Kobe. The two children, Tasumi and Tsutomu struggle through a war-torn town to find safety and refuge amidst the death of their parents. The traumas faced by the children are heart-wrenching, painful, harrowing. The film is based on the autobiography "Grave of the Flies" written by Akiyuki Nosaka. Without a roof over your head, defenseless, parentless, the children wander across and through the deserted streets and town of Kobe, weighed down by hunger. It is misery, desperation, and wretchedness in addition to magical instances brought forth by childish glee.

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The scene I select is from the 56th minute when Setsuko (the girl), wakes up to find all her insects dead. After burying them, she laments and grieves over the insects death, in addition to her mothers demise. Desperation sets in as they run out of food. The situation forces the brother, Seita to steal food from a local farmer in addition to looting abandoned homes. Things get worse at the same time when Setsuko falls ill and later diagnosed by a doctor who identifies malnutrition as the cause of her illness. The doctor provides them with no assistance and as panic sets in, Seita takes money from her mothers bank account. After making the withdrawal, he learns that Japan has given up on the war to the Western powers. Additionally, he comes to learn of their fathers death aboard a ship. When he gets back to the sick sister with lots of food, he finds her hallucinating. He hastens to prepare some food, but Setsuko dies before the food is ready. He cremates her body and carries the ashes in a tin. Together with his father's pictures, he walks around in desperation until his death due to malnutrition later in Sannomiya.

Positive Aspects of the Film

In the first case, the use and deliberate production of the movie as an animation give the story an innocent and childlike bearing. The technique helps in reducing the impact of the misery, desperation, and suffering of the two children amidst gunshots, bombs, cries, and suffering of the people of Kobe. The director uses the power and technique of animation to highlight on unbearable actions depicted in the movie in addition to the gruesome images displayed. The technique further helps the director to highlight the beauty and simplicity of employing plain methods of film production. The high quality of the animation enables the director to bring forth the appropriate emotions elicited by the characters.

The emphasis and use of long camera shots in the film help in showing and giving a wider landscape and area depicting the deplorable condition of Seita and Setsuko. It gives the entire film a war-torn town, the loss of lives, and the dampening feeling of death. The use of long and dark shadows helps in emphasizing on the state of war in the background, with bombed out stations and smoldering building. The long shots also help in bringing forth the fear and darkness that envelope the entire town of Kobe. The combination of long shots and close up shots helps in bringing forth the desperation of the children as they try to keep alive amidst the difficult war-torn town. The close-up shot technique in addition to the tracking shots helps in achieving the sorry state of the war-torn city and the children. Both the application and use of strategic camera movement and camera angles help give the characters a panoramic view in addition to creating the desired size and speed of reaction.

The use of lighting techniques, especially in the above-selected scene helps the film achieve a somber mood in addition to creating a dull eerie feeling. For example, when Seita returns with the food and finds Setsuko hallucinating, the atmosphere dims, producing a sad, and grave stricken environment. The director combines several lights and camera techniques to give the film and especially the scene from the 56th minute a grave feeling and dark atmosphere. On the other hand, the use of sound effects and non-diegetic sounds helps in the creation of the desired mood of the environment. For example, after Seitas insects die, when she is burying them, the background sounds help emphasize the somber mood of the funeral. War sounds such as gun loading in the background also produce the airy feeling of war, guns firing, bombs exploding, women and children running, and confusion reigning in the air. The sound effects such as reverberation in the background produced as Setsuko hurries back to Seita create and control the grave danger the children survive.

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Grave of the Fireflies - Movie Review Example. (2021, Jun 21). Retrieved from

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