Thank you, Sir…

When the news of Isao Takahata (高畑 勲) passing on 5 April came via an app notification, I paused from reading a book. For a moment, my chest tightened with a familiar pain. And the memories of watching Grave of the Fireflies (火垂るの墓, Hotaru no Haka) decades ago and the grief and devastation that had followed for weeks afterwards came flooding back.

His other films I’ve seen, ‘Only Yesterday’ and ‘The Tale of Princess Kaguya’, are equally moving but ‘Grave of the Fireflies’ still haunts me. Once seen, it stays with you forever. Just a mention of the film brings heartaches. I can’t think of any other films, animation or live-action, that come close to reducing me to a blubbering mess for days like ‘Grave of the Fireflies’. The fact that, to this day, it still triggers such visceral response is a testament to its profoundly moving story and storytelling.

And to hear and read that atrocities and sufferings depicted in this film are still happening today… I can’t hold back tears… Insensitive news coverage and click-baiting clips may have numbed us on war and tragedy that I agree with the cries, in the wake of the director’s death, that it should be mandatory for everyone, especially those running for positions of power, to watch ‘Grave of the Fireflies’ at least once.

 

Thank you, Sir, for the masterpiece…

 

Of The Other Master of Studio Ghibli, Isao Takahata (1935-2018).

4 thoughts on “Thank you, Sir…”

  1. Greetings!
    Do you think ‘Grave of the Fireflies’ is a war film? Reading your thoughts regarding such a reported masterpiece (I haven’t seen it, but I know of it) made me think of war films and how ‘Rogue One’ was perceived as a war film (regardless of whether or not it is). Anyhow, I suppose that if you cry after seeing a (reportedly) tragic story unfold before your eyes, it means that you’re a decent human being, and the storyteller is skillful at his craft. Both of these is something that I think we should all aspire to be. Though perhaps anyone can be forgiven for lack of the latter.
    Thank you, for sharing your experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, Sir! Thanks for dropping by…

      I think it’s an anti-war film although Mr Takahata denied GotF was ever intended as such.

      It’s a more personal take on the effect of war, of lives falling apart in the aftermath of the bombings, seen through the eyes of two siblings trying to survive. The sense of inescapable doom and despair just hang in the air, relentless and harrowing, as their lives go from bad to worse due to circumstances and bad choices.

      As Roger Ebert said: movies are like a machine that generates empathy…

      Like

      1. Roger Ebert are spot on. Movies as a medium creates affect, which is roughly, feelings or emotions. And among them is empathy.

        My wife did a media theory paper on the topic about two semesters ago. Editing the paper for her was a ton of fun.

        In any case, I found out that one of my favourite metal bands made a heartful song inspired by GotF. Now I guess I’ll have to see it. Hahaha…

        Liked by 1 person

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