Life is a hopeless venture. This was what I deemed as the theme of Isao Takahata’s powerful animated film, Grave of the Fireflies.
I have heard so much about it and I’ve been wanting to see the film. I finally got a DVD copy. On a Sunday, I sat with my 3-year-old niece and we watched it together. I was telling to her the story all along.
We instantly got hooked. I, as an adult and the child beside me can easily relate with the protagonists love for their mother and their love for one another. The movie was set at the latter part of the World War II in Japan when times were tough and people were all hard up as to how they will get their food and how they will go on with their lives.
The focus of the film was with the journey of Seito, the big brother in his teens and Setsuko, the adorable child, who is maybe the same age as my niece and even looks slightly similar.
Every emotion was poignant. Every hurdle that the siblings face that leads to other obstacles was well-planted.
I kept on telling my niece what was happening in the film until I could no longer bear the tears. My niece asked me why was the movie so sad. I told her that because it was the kind of life that people experienced during the time of war. Towards the end of the film, I was telling my niece why Setsuko died. It was shown that the child was left by Seito by herself because the brother had to look for food so that they will not starve.
Setsuko, being an innocent one, will try to entertain herself. She will play with insects. She will create anything out of nothing. This includes make believe food made out of mud that she would eat because no one was there to look out for her when she was on the age when she still has to be constantly looked after by an adult.
But the siblings had no other choice but to do what they had done. They could have made better or wiser decisions. They could have just apologized to the family who once had made them stay at their home. But what do they know? They were only children.
I don’t want to tell you the complete story. It was a marvel to watch it, but be prepared to get really depressed. Watch it with your family. This will make you treasure the littlest things that you have in life. This will make you go on even if you think that life is difficult because you will realize that it can be worse, that it can be tougher.