I am one of those weird people who enjoys depressing cinema. Ken Loach films fascinate me. I am enraptured by the canon of Ingmar Bergman and Robert Bresson’s movies positively make me grin.
There is, however, a limit to the above. There are some Loach, Bergman and Bresson films that are so unremittingly bleak and depressing, I couldn’t say that I love them. I might feel a better person for having watched them, but they are not loveable films.
Beyond those three directors, there are plenty of other films out there that are too depressing to love. They break your heart too much, they deliver unpalatable truths, they are utterly without hope. These movies are important to chronicle the truth about human existence but the truth hurts, as they say.
To immerse yourself in utter gloom, please click on the next button below, but you have been warned as to the soul destroying content.
10. Grave Of The Fireflies (1988)
A Japanese animated film – Grave of the Fireflies is another film on this list which deals with the horrors of war.
The film starts in Japan in September 1945 where a 14 year old boy dies of starvation in a station. The janitor rifles through his pocket and finds a jar of ashes and bones which he throws into a nearby field. From these ashes spring Seita and his younger sister Setsuko as well as a cloud of fireflies. Seita narrates a flashback to March 1945 and events in the run up to the end of World War Two.
The city Seita, Setsuko and their mother live in is virtually destroyed by American bombers. The mother is seriously burned in the attack and goes to the clinic where she soon dies. Setsuko and Seita move in with an aunt who doesn’t really want them and sells their mother’s kimonos. The pair eventually move out of the aunt’s house and into an abandoned bomb shelter. They use fireflies for light but they all die and Setsuko buries them.
When they run out of rice, Seita is reduced to stealing it from farmers and looting houses during air raids. Setsuko dies from malnutrition and their father is also most probably dead. Seita cremates Setsuko and put her ashes in a tin. The War is over and Seita dies of starvation a couple of months later.
Graveyard of the Fireflies is often seen as an antiwar film – depicting the horrific repercussions of war on an individual level. The director of the film says that the movie contains no such message and he wrote the film to honour the older generation who had lived through World War Two. Whenever it comes to films that are about war, Graveyard of the Fireflies is often overlooked, but the simple tale of a brother and sister – cast offs – trying to survive will have you bawling your eyes out. The film will provoke a lot of emotion in you as well as a welter of feelings – sadness, disgust, helplessness. It is an absolutely beautiful piece of animated cinema. However, it is too emotionally affecting to love. Far too painful.
This article was first posted on June 19, 2013