In This Corner of the World: Film Review

7:08:00 PM

I may not have been during World War II but after watching "In this Corner of the World", I got a glimpse and perspective of what goes on in the lives of those who are affected specifically in Hiroshima, Japan during that time, thanks to anime writer-director Sunao Katabuchi.

Adapted from Fumiyo Kono’s manga, at first, the story was more concerned with household chores and family matters than it is with soldiers on the battlefield and the war. Winner of multiple prizes, including Best Animation Film at the Japanese Academy Awards, In this Corner of the World grossed nearly $20 million when it was released in late 2016. Now showing in the Philippines.

The story started in 1933, with young artist Suzu living with her parents and little sister, Sumi in a seaside cottage outside Hiroshima, the story follows her all the way to early August 1945, when the atomic bomb would devastate much of her family, friends and hometown.

At that point, Suzu is already in her late teens and has been living for over a year in the naval port city of Kure — about an hour’s train ride from Hiroshima at the time — where she's staying at the house of husband Shusaku who asked for her hand in marriage even though the two hardly knew each other.

Following Suzu’s life as a married woman from month to month, Katabuchi initially focuses on the daily grind of a housewife living in rural Japan, with much time devoted to cooking, fetching water, sewing kimonos and trying to be a presentable homemaker — which is especially difficult for the artistic minded Suzu, who often has her head in the clouds while doing her artistic sketches. Her sister-in-law, Keiko doesn’t necessarily make things easier, although Suzu soon becomes the favorite of Keiko’s little daughter, Harumi, who accompanies her on walks through town or through the surrounding fields.

If the first part of the film draws moments of drama, Suzu warms up to the kindhearted Shusaku and seems to accept her position in his home and at the same time grew fond of him as well — once the war kicks in Suzu’s peaceful existence becomes severely threatened. Food grows scarce, the men of the house are either wounded or away working for the Imperial Japanese Army and, when the Americans launch a vicious bombing campaign on Kure (whose large port housed Japan's major battleships), this is where Suzu experienced major heartbreak with what happened in their life because of a tragedy that hit them. 

In this Corner of the World is moving, it will touch your heart and made you realize how hard it is to live during those times. The writer is clearly concerned with showing how the conflict affects Suzu and women like her, this showcases how women during those times strives to be tough for their families while the men were busy working or fighting for the country. I love how the movie showcased the realistic happenings during the wartime at Kuru and Hiroshima, plus the colorful costumes and props including the dishes Suzu serves up to her in-laws when after craving for how many days without good food, it makes you hungry while watching it. This movie is truly an eye-opener and we should really salute those who strive to surpass the past because of the challenges they experienced those times.

Watch the trailer below:

IN THIS CORNER OF THE WORLD now showing in cinemas from Rafaella Films International.

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