10 Best Films Set In The Pacific War

8. Grave Of The Fireflies

The Thin Red Line 1998

Grave of the Fireflies tells the enchanting story of Seita and Setsuko, two young orphans whose home is destroyed during the firebombing of Kobe. Based on a short story by Japanese writer Akiyuki Nosaka, this is among Studio Ghibli's most hauntingly beautiful and unforgettably sad animations.

American bombers didn't just destroy Japanese cities with atomic weapons. They dropped incendiary bombs (illegal under international law then and now) on dozens of Japanese cities, many of which were composed primarily of wooden buildings. Some cities were utterly destroyed.

Grave of the Fireflies is set in the terrible aftermath of this bombing. The plot is simple enough - Seita and Setsuko are orphaned and alone, and they drift from shelter to shelter, including the home of a resentful aunt and an abandoned military fortification. Sometimes love is all they have to sustain them as they come to terms with the losses they've suffered.

Their worst adversary is, simply enough, hunger. Setsuko is so malnourished she hallucinates delirious visions that are as visually stunning as they are incredibly melancholy.

A visual treat, the film portrays the scorched earth of defeated Japan with a magically soft tenderness. It's also an intimate, personal, and emotionally vivid story about the love between siblings and the sad waste of war.

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