Foreign Film Series

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Foreign Film Series

The Foreign Film Series provides the Cedarville community an opportunity to view interesting and challenging films from around the world. The series allows viewers to peer into often unfamiliar cultures through the eyes of the cultures themselves.

As 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Foreign Film Series will present three thematically linked films this spring that deal with World War II and its aftermath in Japan.

Film: Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies

Japan/Anime
Thursday, January 23rd, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., BTS 104

Trailer IMDB (8.5 stars) Rotten Tomatoes (98% Fresh)

It is post-war Japan, just weeks before the American occupation. In the city of Kobe, a young man lies dying in a train station. Beside his body lies a small candy container. A janitor, unsure of its ashen contents, pitches it into the night. As fireflies float around it, ghostly images of a boy and his sister appear.....
Flashback to a short time earlier: Orphaned and homeless from a firebomb attack on their city, 14-year-old Seita and his 4-year-old sister Setsuko, set out to survive in the face of a society that is no longer able to protect them. Forced to live in an abandoned bomb shelter in the countryside, they slowly come to realize they no longer can escape the hardships of war, or even find enough food to survive.

Director: Isao Takahata

Reviews:

"Grave of the Fireflies is about the capacity of the human spirit to love. Watching it feels like a privilege."
– Bill Mousoulis, Sense of Cinema
"[A]n emotional experience so powerful it forces a rethinking of animation. It belongs on any list of greatest war films ever made."
– Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"[T]he most profound, moving, tragic, and uplifting program I have yet reviewed."
Video Rating Guide for Libraries
"Some movies are such singular achievements that they deserve to be seen at least once by everyone who considers himself or herself to be a lover of film. Grave of the Fireflies falls into that exclusive category."
– James Berardinelli, ReelViews

Film: White LIght/Black Rain, The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

White Light/Black Rain

Japan/Documentary
Thursday, February 20th, 7:00 and 9:30 p.m., BTS 104

Trailer IMDB (8.3 stars) Rotten Tomatoes (100% Fresh)

In August 1945, the world was transformed in the blink of an eye when American forces dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and then Nagasaki, causing unprecedented destruction and precipitating the end of World War II.
In a deeply moving look at the painful legacy of the first use of nuclear weapons in war, Academy Award winning filmmaker Steven Okazaki presents archival footage, stunning photography, and heartrending personal interviews from both Japanese survivors and the Americans who fought in the war.

Director: Steven Okazaki

Reviews:

"No warning can really prepare you for these images of ashen corpses, maimed survivors and apocalyptic destruction, but in an age of renewed nuclear tension, there can be no question as to their relevance."
– Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com
"To say that watching this footage is harrowing would be an understatement -- and to call watching it "painful" would be a serious insult to the survivors."
– Jeff Giles, Bullz-Eye.com
"Film's sobering impact lets the images and witnesses' words speak for themselves."
– Dennis Harvey, Variety
"[A] simple, apolitical reminder—an act of passionate but clearheaded pleading—that we must never forget the horrors of Japan in the summer of 1945."
– MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher

Film: In this Corner of the World. Torn apart by war. Brought together by love.

In this Corner of the World

Japan/Anime
Thursday, March 12th, 7:00 and 9:30 p.m., BTS 104

Trailer IMDB (7.8 stars) Rotten Tomatoes 97% Fresh)

Based on the award-winning manga by Fumiyo Kouno, In This Corner of the World tells the emotional story of Suzu, a young girl from Hiroshima, who's just become a bride in the nearby city of Kure during World War II. Living with her husband's family, Suzu has to adjust to her new life, which is made especially difficult by regular air raids. But life must go on, and Suzu — through the help of her new family and neighbors — begins to discover the joys of everyday life in Kure. Much is gained in Kure, but with war, many things cherished are also lost.

Director: Sunao Katabuchi

Reviews:

"It has jaw-droppingly gorgeous settings, in which all the buildings are depicted with full accuracy, as are the homes of the peasant families who live on a mountain slope, overlooking the (largely wooden) city."
– Paul Byrnes, Sydney Morning Herald
"'Corner' is a deeply sympathetic tale, using the possibilities of animation not just to pique curiosity, but to devastate."
– Alan Zilberman, Washington Post
"It's the images that are meant to stay with us, and they do."
– Andrew Lapin, NPR
"An elegant reminder that we can never forget what life during wartime does to the human soul."
– Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com