With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Monday, December 05, 2011

ACF 1263: Sentai Filmworks acquires rights for GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES


Sentai Filmworks, with understandable pride, has announced the acquisition of distribution rights for the critically acclaimed animation masterpiece GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES.  The movie is based on the semi-autobiographical retellings of survivor Nosaka Akiyuki and directed by Iaso Takahata (co-founder, with Hayao Miyazaki, of Japan’s legendary Studio Ghibli, the studio that performed the animation duties for the film).

I saw the film years ago on an English language promotional preview DVD from Central Park Media, which has been out of business for a couple of years now. It's a fantastic film, but my opinion is that it's definitely suitable only for children that are at least 10 to 12 years old. The subject matter -- siblings struggling to survive in the horror that was Japan as World War II ended -- is way too serious and disturbing for those younger than that.

Here's what Sentai has to say about their upcoming release:

GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES has been universally hailed as both an artistic and emotional tour de force, with famed critic Roger Ebert calling the feature “An emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation” and stating that “it belongs on any list of the greatest war films ever made.”  Sentai Filmworks is extraordinarily honored to have been given the privilege of handling the digitally restored version of one of the art of animation’s true crowning achievements.

Digital distribution of GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES will begin through many outlets this winter, and a DVD of the digitally restored master will be in stores next year.

Synopsis: As the Empire of the Sun crumbles upon itself and a rain of firebombs falls upon Japan, the final death march of a nation is echoed in millions of smaller tragedies.  This is the story of Seita and his younger sister Setsuko, two children born at the wrong time, in the wrong place, and now cast adrift in a world that lacks not the care to shelter them, but simply the resources.  Forced to fend for themselves in the aftermath of fires that swept entire cities from the face of the earth, their doomed struggle is both a tribute to the human spirit and the stuff of nightmares.  Beautiful, yet at times brutal and horrifying, it is a film that perhaps only the animated medium could render without completely overloading human senses, transforming the fog of war and the screams of the dying into what Ebert calls “visual poetry.”

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