Life dur­ing wartime…

Total Film - - Contents -

In­stant anime classic.


I t’s set in Hiroshima. It takes place dur­ing WW2. But this Ja­panese anime is not a story of nu­clear an­ni­hi­la­tion. Rather, it’s a tale of sur­vival; of a per­se­ver­ing young house­wife, Suzu (voiced by Rena Nounen), who comes of age years be­fore the bomb drops.

Adapted from a noughties manga by Su­nao Katabuchi (a former Ghi­bli an­i­ma­tor best known for 2009’s Mai Mai Mir­a­cle), it’s a ten­der, sober­ing film; a mov­ing por­trait of the stress en­dured by the fe­male home­front. Suzu’s fight is not with the Al­lies – it’s with mea­gre ra­tions, as she faces a daily bat­tle to feed three gen­er­a­tions of her fam­ily.

Katabuchi cap­tures this hard­ship in a hand-drawn style that’s be­guil­ingly beau­ti­ful. There’s a strik­ing con­trast be­tween the fore­ground – all bright greens and gen­tle blues – and the cold greys of war­fare in the dis­tance. When air raids do come, the blacks and or­anges are jolt­ing. The at­tacks fi­nally break Suzu’s spirit. And when the hor­ror be­comes too much, the film ‘breaks’ as well, with white lines danc­ing across a black can­vas, crum­bling be­fore they can form con­crete shapes. The im­pli­ca­tion is clear: there’s no easy way to con­vey this kind of suf­fer­ing. Stephen Kelly


An ex­quis­ite por­trait of Hiroshima be­fore the bomb that con­jures a pow­er­ful sense of what – and who – was lost.

The warm blues skies of a hap­pier, if still tough, time in Hiroshima. Cer­tifi­cate TBC DI­rect or Su­nao Katabuchi Star­ring

Rena Nounen, Megumi Han Screen­play Su­nao Katabuchi

Dist rib­u­toR Na­tional Amuse­ments Run­ning time 128 mins (TBC)

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