Thursday, March 22, 2007

Movie review: Hadashi no Gen (Barefoot Gen)



This is the anime that inspired Grave of fireflies (at least according to Wikipedia) though unlike Grave of fireflies, this movie ends on an optimistic note. This movie is heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.


The movie is loosely based on author Nakazawa’s memoirs of the war. Nakazawa is a Hiroshima bombing survivor and was in the elementary school first grade when Hiroshima was bombed. He expresses his experience of the war through the main character of the movie, Gen.


In the movie, Gen survives the Hiroshima bombing and is left to deal with the aftermath. Gen struggles to survive and keep his spirit uncrushed while he is surrounded by the harrowing reality of war. After watching the gruesome movies of recent times with fountains of blood spurting from freshly cut jugulars and ruthless mind numbing violence this movie manages to crumble you with a child’s despaired cry.


The movie conveys the tragedy of the bombings in a profound manner. I was moved to tears. I let the pain I felt pickle in my mind instead of running away from it. I wonder if the warmongers would support violence so vehemently if they could have a first person experience of the aftermath.


I highly recommend this genius of a movie.

Also read an interview with Nakazawa

5 comments:

Fleiger said...

I tried "Graveyard of fireflies" but it was too depressing for me... Could not finish it (and that does not mean that I felt it was bad or anything) Somehow, the Japanese movies do that to me with the themes and portrayal.

I agree about the recent gore-fests... I need clean movies.

Crystal blur said...

Fleiger,
Arrey all Japanese movies are not depressing. You should get the ones suggested in my last anime blog like Tokyo Godfather.

Also Barefoot Gen has a lot of optimism as compared to Grave of fireflies so don't be afraid. Even if you don't watch the movie, follow the link in the blog to read the interview.

b v n said...

Careful depiction of a war story with due stress to the details is very important to show the human tragedy. I was watching this Enola gay story in History channel, they have a triumphant background score when the bombs are loaded and the plane takes off. After the bomb is dropped,the narration suddenly shifts to a japanese guy speaking something in a squeaky tone. I'm not a sadist in the classic sense, but laughed out loud. History channel scored there for the US. Apocalypse now, continues to be my whetstone.

btw, first time here, came here to read the mahabharata series highly recomm by a colleague. glad i found yr blog.will be back :)

Fleiger said...

Sure... Lemme check that. "Mononoke" was one I found nice (though a bit too "Zee Horror Show" sometimes)

raghu said...

@ flieger
its grave of fireflies..not graveyard.

crys ya.. i loved the in grave of fireflies where he ties his hsoe lace..its just wonderful.
im sooo watchin this movie now! :D