Top positive review
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Grave of innocence.
on 25 October 2016
No matter who we may blame for a war, there's no disputing the fact that people suffer the consequences in very similar ways and films such as this can apply to all of us if we're unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of conflict. As a result it is very easy to identify with and "inhabit" the two siblings, Seito and Setsuka, enduring a life of extreme hardship as they are handed between carers and finally left to their own devices in a country where the fabric of society itself is unravelling as even the adults feel vulnerable and abandon the children to their fates.
Although the opening telegraphs the finale, there's a sad truth in the storytelling that makes you concerned about knowing how these two young people came to their end in such terrible circumstances and, without being heavy-handed, the film shows us the preciousness of our early years and the magic that ought to be within that time, and sets it directly in opposition to the horrors going on around these children. When Setsuka asks why fireflies should die so soon, it is a genuinely heartbreaking moment that the biggest-budget blockbuster would find very hard to emulate, because its "childlike" simplicity reaches right inside us. As by now we are inhabiting the children's experiences it actually hits quite hard and I at least was left with a real sensation of helplessness that must have matched Setsuka's.
There's no way to compare this with other Ghibli films except in the storytelling and the animation, and the absorbing and at times genuinely threatening storyline. These elements can be found elsewhere too, such as in Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle, but here the Ghibli storytelling genius makes a far darker story that leaves us wondering why we do so much to threaten the wellbeing of people when, as I said earlier, we all suffer in the same way.
Fabulous film with its point very well made.