* Winner of the 6th Toronto Japanese Film Festival – Grand Jury Prize (Best Film) *
I know, I know… I’m really slow/late, and I am very ASHAMED. This came out last year! And I’ve only seen it now! Shame on me.
I’ll be honest, when I saw the trailer, the first thing that came to my mind was… GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES. That tragic, devastating, heart-wrenching, life-wrecking film that destroyed me for two days straight after watching it. I wasn’t sure if my heart could take another film like that again, and so I procrastinated. But now, on hindsight, I definitely regret doing that because this film is absolutely NOT like Grave of the Fireflies. Sure, both movies are about the same event, but the purpose of both films are very different. And of course, both amazing in their respective ways.
In This Corner of the World, was especially empowering to watch because we see our protagonists overcome (though painstakingly) the series of unfortunate events that has befallen upon them. The plot was just wonderful. I felt like I soared through a rainbow of emotions while watching this movie, laughing and crying together with these characters. I cared a lot for them – this wasn’t “just a cartoon” to me, I was very emotionally involved throughout – they were complex and they each had a very distinct personality. And gosh, the ARTWORK. Absolutely breathtaking. And it tied in very well with the protagonist’s passion for drawing, creating so many layers to the film’s narrative… I can go on forever!
There’s something very warm about this film, the writers used very simple events to paint a very realistic landscape from that time, and it gets to you, somehow. I won’t ever forget the overcooked rice, the childhood painting, the kimono that was cut up, her balding spot, the ants attacking the sugar jar… Everything was just really sweet.
Come to think of it, I didn’t realise how much I loved this film till about a week later, where I found myself thinking about film, and how much I missed it, and also how much I wanted to watch it again. Which is totally unlike the way I felt after the tragedy of Grave of the Fireflies, because this movie was surprisingly uplifting, very nostalgic, and also endearing, with a positive message for everyone ultimately.
I highly recommend this film to everyone, be it if you’re looking for a relaxing film to watch with your friends on movie night, or if you’re a teacher looking for a film to share with your class about the bombings in Japan during WWII, or if you’re a parent looking for a meaningful history film to share with your child, or if you’re a Studio Ghibli/Studio Chizu/Madhouse fan like me… I highly, highly encourage you to watch this. Gosh, it’s even good for date night. Though it is a war movie, it’s very clean, with little to no gore, there’s no sex/rape scenes either. I simply cannot imagine anyone disliking this movie, unless you’re one of those who simply dislike anime films because it’s anime, then all I have to say is WHATS WRONG WITH YOU?! I’m just kidding 🙂
On a side note, if you’re flying to anywhere via Cathay Pacific anytime soon, you can catch In This Corner of the World during your flight, which was what I did! I was actually very impressed with the selection of movies on Cathay Pacific’s inflight entertainment unit. They had The Beguiled, Fargo (The Coen Brothers film), Her, Sicario, Leon and Pulp Fiction! All are films that I love very much~