GRAVE OF THE FIRE­FLIES/ HO­TARU NO HAKA

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM -

Club, IFI/Light House, Dublin, 90 min It is en­tirely pos­si­ble that you may never have heard of Isao Taka­hata’s 1988 mas­ter­piece. For all the in­creas­ing vis­i­bil­ity of Ja­panese an­i­ma­tion in “the West”, Grave of the Fire­flies has yet to gather a pop­ulist fol­low­ing here. Yet one could, with­out dal­ly­ing too much in hy­per­bole, ar­gue that it is one of the great­est an­i­ma­tions ever re­leased and among the most mov­ing of all anti-war films (though the di­rec­tor bris­tles slightly at that de­scrip­tion). Those who have yet to see it are to be en­vied a chance to catch the anime first on the big screen.

Grave of the Fire­flies dal­lies in dif­fi­cult, un­com­fort­able ter­ri­tory: the wretched last days of the sec­ond World War in Ja­pan. We be­gin with a young boy named Seita dy­ing of star­va­tion some time af­ter the sur­ren­der. A passerby roots through his mea­gre pos­ses­sions and comes across a tin har­bour­ing ashes. When he throws the contents

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