In This Corner of the World

Out Now On-Demand

Anime feature adaptation of Fumiyo Kono's manga series which follows a young bride and her new family living near Hiroshima during World War II.

Suzu becomes essential to the running of her household, creatively preparing meals through tough wartime conditions while also carrying out the daily housework. In 1945, intense bombings by the US military finally reach Kure with devastating effect to the townsfolk and their way of life. Suzu's life is changed irrevocably, but through perseverance and courage, she manages to continue to live life to the fullest.

Trailers

Directed by

Written by

Animated, Drama, War, Historical, World Cinema

130mins

Rating: M Adult themes

Japanese with English subtitles

Japan

Little-known Japanese animation studio MAPPA adds a sweet and respectful title to the enormous library of World War II cinema with this adaptation of Fumiyo Kono’s coming-of-age manga. It follows Suzu, a young woman living a quaint and carefree life in Hiroshima. That is, until she’s suddenly wedded to a guy she barely knows and dragged to live with this stranger’s family in neighbouring city Kure. Despite this, she carves her own sense of normality out of an unfair situation – a skill they all need when the war reaches their shores.

At a glance, it wouldn’t seem like a film this cutesy could speak so swiftly about the horrors of WWII from a civilian perspective. The sun-washed colour scheme gives the small town streets and green hill valleys a warm serenity while the childlike character designs instil the adults with innocence and vulnerability. This is very much to the film’s intent.

In This Corner of the World cherishes the little details that make up an ordinary life, from cooking rice to kissing one's husband for the first time. There’s nothing particularly worrisome on a day-to-day basis, so when the grand darkness of war threatens to swallow everything, it’s a nearly unrecognisable event. This is how the townspeople felt, told of the war but sheltered from its reality, and through its art direction and characters, the film does an excellent job relaying that separation.

Make no mistake though – In This Corner of the World isn’t the misery-fest of Studio Ghibli’s Grave of the Fireflies. It’s a celebration of those who continued everyday life over the sound of death knocking on the door. If there’s one shot that summarises the film, it’s that of smoke blooming from behind the hills while Suzu dutifully collects the washing off the line.

Empire (UK)

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A gorgeously rendered and deeply personal portrayal of a young woman's life in the part of the world where history's greatest conflict reached a devastating conclusion.

Screen International

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The crowd-funded film's many charms spring as much from its tone of sorrow as from its lingering hope, ensuring the quiet, patient feature has a sizeable impact.

The Telegraph (UK)

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Confronting the horrors of history head-on can make for cinema that's impossible to shake, but Katabuchi's painterly, introspective film proves a sideways approach can be just as indelible.

The Times (UK)

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The quietly revealing tale from the director Sunao Katabuchi follows the childhood and arranged marriage of Suzu, an "ordinary", but utterly resilient girl, who also has a talent for drawing.

Total Film (UK)

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An exquisite portrait of Hiroshima before the bomb that conjures a powerful sense of what - and who - was lost.

Variety (USA)

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A wistfully nostalgic time capsule of civilian life under the catastrophic tide of war.

FilmInk (Australia)

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This is one of the year’s best…

Sydney Morning Herald

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That's the beautiful idea – to depict the lives of ordinary people during an extraordinary time, rather than the actions of extraordinary people, like pilots and generals.

Stuff.co.nz (James Croot)

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A little gem that deserves to find a global audience.