Isao TakahataJapan89 minutes1988ColourJapanese
On April 5, 2018, legendary filmmaker and Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata passed away. To honour his vision and the immense contributions he made to animated storytelling, TIFF Cinematheque presents a special tribute screening of Takahata's Grave of the Fireflies, a rarely screened masterpiece that remains one of the greatest film debuts of all time.
In Kobe, Japan in 1945, teenager Seita has become accustomed to the presence of American bomber planes flying overhead, but on one fateful day he experiences their full, destructive power: after a firebomb raid on the city, his mother is horribly burned and his neighbourhood is set aflame, leaving him and his five-year-old sister Setsuko homeless. As the final, bloody days of the war rage around them, the two children must learn to survive with little shelter, less food, and ever scarcer hope. A film of profound emotional resonance and the zenith of Ghibli's humanist storytelling, Grave of the Fireflies is perhaps the most important film ever created at the studio — and as a decisive declaration of animation's ability to tell any kind of story, even the most tragic and painful, it ranks as one of the greatest animated films of all time.