Saturday, June 25, 2005

Grave of the Fireflies

A chance for homecooked food finally materialised in the form of glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaf and black chicken soup.

Also watched Isao Takahata's Grave of the Fireflies at last.

Some say it demonstrates the tragedy of pride. Others think it a commentary on the horrors of war and the suffering of innocent people during times of conflict. Its lack of a clear direction however seems to suggest less a case of anime as message and more of anime as a neorealist way of exorcising the writer's ghosts.

Found out later that the anime was based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Akiyuki Nosaka. He had lost his little sister during the war to malnutrition and blamed himself for her death. Battling starvation, he'd withheld his sister's share of food at times and fed himself.

The film also speaks of the fragility and transience of life. Like fireflies, every person glows for a moment in the night and is dead by morning, seemingly gone forever, reduced like the little girl to a few ashes in a battered used fruit drop tin, to be thrown out with the garbage.

What value then do our petty lives have?

Value enough that God sent his only Son to die in our place that we might live with him forever.


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