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Rarely screened in Canada, Isao Takahata's masterpiece about a teenage boy and his little sister struggling to survive through the final, bloody days of World War II is one of the greatest animated films of all time.
Rarely screened in Canada, Isao Takahata's masterpiece was unavailable for our previous Studio Ghibli retrospective; we are thrilled to be able to present it for the series' return engagement. In Kobe, Japan in 1945, teenager Seita has become accustomed to the presence of American bomber planes flying overhead, but on one fateful day he experiences their full, destructive power: after a firebomb raid on the city, his mother is horribly burned and his neighbourhood is set aflame, leaving him and his five-year-old sister Setsuko homeless. As the final, bloody days of the war rage around them, the two children must learn to survive with little shelter, less food, and ever scarcer hope. A film of profound emotional resonance and the zenith of Ghibli's humanist storytelling, Grave of the Fireflies is perhaps the most important film ever created at the studio — and as a decisive declaration of animation's ability to tell any kind of story, even the most tragic and painful, it ranks as one of the greatest animated films of all time. "Grave of the Fireflies is an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation" (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times).