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Grave Of The Fireflies My Personal Reactions

1602 words - 6 pages

Yet again this is another war movie. But unlike so many American blockbusters that treat brave soldiers as heroes (such as Pearl Harbor, We were soldiers, Windtalkers, etc.), this one addresses war's brutal impact on innocent civilians, especially children. With the war on Iraq now undergoing, this point has all the more relevance. Under the same American bombing, innocent Iraqi children are now suffering just as much as Seita and Setsuko in this movie have suffered, and even more, for the Iraqi people and land have long known the horrors of poverty, hunger and dictatorship.This essay, with at the beginning a brief summary and an elaboration of three classic scenes in the movie, is going to present to you the three dimensions of the complex feelings that the movie provokes in my heart on a personal level and thus tries to offer an individual yet hopefully worthy viewpoint for those interested in the movie.Summary and Three classic scenesGrave of the Fireflies is based on a semi-autobiographical book by Nosaka Akiyuki about the death of his sister, and is a very well known book in Japan. The movie itself is about a teenager boy named Seita and his 5-year-old sister Setsuko, and how they try to survive in mainland Japan after the entirety of their port town, Kobe, is destroyed by American fire bombings. Their mother dies shortly after the fires are put out, in a graphic and poignant scene at a community hospital. Their father is in the Navy, and unbeknownst to them, has already died in battle. Unable to tell Setsuko that their mother has died, Seita takes her with him to live with their Aunt. The Aunt, however, cares little for them, and barely feeds them. Seita eventually takes Setsuko, and leaves their aunt's house for a dug-out shelter by a pond, where he struggles hopelessly to find money and items to trade for food. It all spirals downward in a tragic, yet foreseeable, path to a heartbreaking end, which is slow-suffering death for both brother and sister.There are three scenes in the movie that I find particularly striking and believe do most in delivering the themes of this movie. One is when after the siblings use the fireflies to illuminate the cave, Setsuko is seen the next morning burying the dead insects, and as she tells that she knows her mother has died and is now also in a grave, she asks with her two large sparkling eyes shadowed and barred by the horrors of war, "Why do fireflies have to die so quickly?" Another comes after Seita carries his little sister to the hospital and is informed that his sister is starving and needs food, he is somber for a moment murmuring 'food', then in a sudden burst of desperation, cries out: "Where am I supposed to get food?" These two questions stabbed my heart like spears the moment I heard them. These are questions that never really need to be answered but they nevertheless need to be remembered. In the last scene, the ghost of Setsuko lays sleeping comfortably in the lap of her older brother,...

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