In This Corner of the World (2016)

In This Corner of the World (2016)

War-torn Hiroshima through the eyes of an everyday but spirited young woman



Animation, Drama, Family, History
Asuka Ohgame, Barbara Goodson, Christine Marie Cabanos
130 min

What it's about

Japan, 1943, during World War II. Young Suzu leaves her village near Hiroshima to marry and live with her in-laws in Kure, a military harbor. Her creativity to overcome deprivation quickly makes her indispensable at home. Inhabited by an ancestral wisdom, Suzu impregnates the simple gestures of everyday life with poetry and beauty. The many hardships, the loss of loved ones, the frequent air raids of the enemy, nothing alters her enthusiasm…

The take

Prior to being defined by that fateful bombing in 1945, Hiroshima was like any other city outside of Tokyo; small but full, quiet but busy, and in the midst of a slow-but-sure journey to modernization. We experience the rich and intimate details of this life through the kind-hearted Suzu, who herself is stuck between the throes of old and new. She is an ambitious artist but also a dedicated wife; a war-wearied survivor and a hopeful cheerleader. 

Set before, during, and after the Second World War, the film starts off charmingly mundane at first, but it quickly gives way to inevitable grief in the second half. One stark tragedy follows another as it becomes increasingly clear how much we lose our humanity in war.

In This Corner of the World is the rare film outside of the Hayao Miyazaki canon that captures the latter's heart for detail while still being graciously its own.

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