so if you ever want to sit down and have your heart ripped directly out of your chest, watch Studio Ghibli's The Grave of the Fireflies. based on a true story, it's about two war-time orphans in Japan who starve to death. to get an idea of the level of sadness of this movie, take Schindler's List and multiply it by Sophie's Choice. in all seriousness, though, I'm not sure I've ever been flat out emotionally devastated by a piece of art in the way that this thing just completely wrecked me (and for the love of God, watch the subtitled version, not the godawful dub).
in the film, the older boy and his younger sister starve, but in real life, the film was based off of an autobiographical short story.
Grave of the Fireflies (火垂るの墓 Hotaru no Haka?) is a 1967 semi-autobiographical short story by Japanese author Akiyuki Nosaka. It is based on his experiences before, during, and after the firebombing of Kobe in 1945. One of his sisters died as the result of a sickness, his adoptive father died during the firebombing proper, and his younger adoptive sister Keiko died of malnutrition in Fukui. It was written as a personal apology to Keiko, regarding her death.
apparently Nosaka, scavenging for food as a young boy, would always eat first, leaving his malnourished younger sister with the leftovers.
as a result, she starved to death.
that kind of survivor's guilt - I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.
part of me wants to sit down and analyze why this film is such a masterwork - and Roger Ebert touches upon that here - but I think I'm not going to do that. I'll just return to the film in a year's time and let it wash over me.
not everything in life is meant to be reduced to its component parts.
people I admire
Bret Easton Ellis