GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES/ HOTARU NO HAKA
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