In This Corner of the World is based on the Japanese Manga, an illustrated story similar to the graphic novel in America. As such it brilliantly utilized that form of storytelling in order to humanize the struggles of the survivors of the August 1945 nuclear destruction of Hiroshima. It has now been adapted into a beautiful animated film made in the old fashioned two-dimensional style of hand drawn animation that was the standard for most of the twentieth century. What makes the picture stand apart from so many similar films is that it relates its story from the viewpoint of the Japanese, an approach that is lacking with far too many of these films. It proves once again the value of being allowed the experience to see things from an alternate point of view outside of our own, something that is sadly lacking in our current political climate. If audiences would take the time to see the film perhaps some valuable lessons could be gleaned.
The Corner of the film’s title would be the Hiroshima port of Kure. Suzu is a plucky girl who spends most of her time daydreaming while living her day to day life in the town of Eba. Suzu’s fantasies are part of her coping mechanism as her country becomes enmeshed in WWII and her family has come to expect this from her. She marries and runs away with her new husband to nearby Kure. The way things are depicted in the film we’re not really sure whether Suzu is really married or if this is just another of her fantasies taking root. As the film goes on it becomes apparent that Suzu really has married and has begun a new phase of her life. The film follows her as the horrors of war take their eventual toll on Suzu and her family, who mostly remained in the small town in which she grew up.
The film really scores high in the scenes where it depicts Hiroshima in the days before the war, giving us a sense of what things were like. Suzu attempts to keep her family close but there’s only so much that can be done and once the bomb is dropped life changes forever for both Suzu and her family.
If there is a quibble to be made it would be that In This Corner of the World suffers from pacing issues that bog the film down. It’s way too leisurely, especially in its first hour, but for those willing to be patient with it this is a film that more than compensates for its tendency toward overlength with its beautiful life affirming portrait.
In This Corner Of The World is not currently playing in this area.