You see, Grave of the Fireflies is already routinely called “the greatest anti-war film of all time” and “the saddest film of all time” (both of which I agree with).
But there’s an extra layer to this Studio Ghibli classic if you know the context in which it was made.
And because of how these films were presented outside Japan, most Western audiences have no idea of this connection – but once you know it, you will never be able to see these films quite the same again.
(I know because I definitely can’t.)
You can check out the video below:
This is an extended version of the talk I gave at the Duke of York’s cinema in Brighton for their Ghibli season, complete with extra material and clips that I couldn’t show live.
Of course, there is a lot more to say about this film (especially the quote I bring up from the director in the second half of the video) and I’m hoping to make this a jumping off point for a bigger discussion.
So I’m really interested in your take. Are you surprised? Did you know this? How does it change your view of these films?
Watch the video and then leave a comment, let me know what you think.
And then make sure to watch the follow-up talk to this one, which is entirely about Totoro.