TFF's Cinematheque: Japanese Cinema, Starts 2/5

The Telluride Film Festival and Telluride’s five-star Wilkinson Public Library are pleased to launch the 20th edition of “Cinematheque” at the Library. From Hayao Miyazaki to Yoji Yamada, from animation to samurai to surreal, this four-part series explores the landscape of contemporary Japanese cinema and the impact it has had on the world of film. First up is GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES/HOTARU NO HAKA, (1988, Unrated, 89 minutes), Monday, February 5, 6 p.m. FREE TO ALL. Light snacks are provided.

The series showcasing contemporary Japanese cinema  begins with Isao Takahata’s animated masterpiece, GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES, based on the semi-autobiographical short story of the same name by Akiyuki Nosaka. 

“An emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation,” wrote Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times, who also hailed the film as one of the best and most powerful war films. 

GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES begins after Japan’s surrender at the end of WWII as young Seita dies alone. The rest of the film is a flashback revealing how things have come to this tragic moment. Seita spent his childhood in Kobe and was proud of his father who was in the the Japanese navy. When he and his sister Setsuko lose their mother after a U.S. fire-bombing raid, the siblings travel to a distant family member for care, but eventually end up navigating survival on their own in a world where food and tenderness are running low.

“The stylized images suit the simplicity and gravity of a grim story of love, sacrifice and survival in the face of adult indifference and cruelty,” wrote The Guardian, “It’s an accomplished, affecting, relentless work.”

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Erika Moss Gordon

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