Sunao Katabuchi's IN OUR CORNER OF THE WORLD
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
IN OUR CORNER OF THE WORLD is a beautifully rendered and strikingly dramatic example of how regular people are impacted by war.
A young woman in pre-war rural Japan who loves to draw marries a young office worker. She goes to live with his family in a small town near Hiroshima. She struggles with her new relationships. The war comes. Lives change.
The movie traces the details of rural life from the 1930's through the end of the war. Some depicted events are simple examples of day to day life where pots, pencils, clothing, and flowers are lovingly and beautifully illustrated. It's another time and the day to day rhythms of life back then are portrayed in loving detail.
Horrific events are also pictured but not always directly. Fire rains from the sky, massive warships in the harbor are pictured majestically from afar, and we finally see the flash of the Bomb but only from a distance.
It's the "little people" -- the civilians -- and their lives that are being illustrated. That's where the focus stays throughout the film.
Suzu Urano is the young woman we follow through this lushly animated movie. She is shy, gentle, sometimes stubborn, hardworking, and she also loves to draw. She makes the most of the poverty and wartime rationing that are the lot of her and her family. She survives the horrific events that befall her (and Japan) and somehow keeps going. As heroism goes she is more of a survivor, but how she survives touches others and viewers as well.
It's impossible to watch this film without thinking of all the civilians around the world who suffer the consequences of war. We have become accustomed to such images. We unfortunately view them in passing without thinking of what's actually happening to the people who, through no fault of their own, are swept up in ongoing horrors.
Review copyright (c) 2018 by Dennis D. McDonald. An edited version of this review appears in aNewDomain.