In this Corner of the World (2017) by Sunao Katabuchi (T)

Poignant wartime drama



Sunao Katabuchi's "In this Corner of the World" (2017) follows a great tradition of Japanese animation set during the Second World War. It is a period of history that lends itself to many stories and this film takes its own unique view of the war, from the perspective of a young woman growing up near Hiroshima in the 1930's and 40's.

"In this Corner of the World" is screening at Japan Cuts, that will be on July 13 to 23.


Suzu Urano (Non) is a young girl whose flights of fancy and carefree attitude make her an immediately likeable and relatable protagonist. Growing up in Hiroshima with her parents and younger sister, she enjoys drawing and telling amusing stories. When she turns 19, Suzu is married by arrangement to Shusaku Hojo, taking his family name and moving to live with her in-laws in nearby Kure. Her life is far from easy, having to do many of the chores around the house and deal with Shusaku's temperamental elder sister, Keiko, and Keiko's daughter Harumi. Despite the tasks of rural life, cooking, cleaning and running errands for the family, Suzu soon finds herself enjoying her life there. She makes friends easily and rarely seems troubled. As the war progresses, Kure, which is a naval base, comes under repeated attack and the dangers increase for Suzu and her new family.


Written by Sunao Katabuchi and Chie Uratani, the film has a nostalgic feel for a lost world. Some have commented on the language used by characters which is a rural dialect of that particular place and period. The world is shown in great detail with the life of an ordinary family lovingly portrayed. Even minor chores and activities come to seem enjoyable and important. The film highlights the need to appreciate even the small things in life. We see the changing seasons, characters cooking and eating together, and snatches of their lives that create a tapestry of daily routine, conversations, and the various relationships that make up their world. The art-style is delicate and creates a comfortable feeling while watching. Occasionally, there will be sequences where Suzu's imagination comes to life through a "hand-drawn" style that is very effective and evocative, as we see the world through her eyes. Almost every character is portrayed as likeable, with no more than minor difficulties between them. The second half of the movie involves serious tragedy, as the war finally reaches Japan. The music creates the right atmosphere of whimsy and comfortable rural life with more threatening overtones as events unfold. The voice cast all do a great job, with Non playing Suzu, Yoshimasa Hosoya as Shusaku and Minori Omi as Keiko. All of the cast help create the feel of real people and their relationships: parents, in-laws, children, husbands and friends.


The film is well-paced throughout. Although there doesn't appear to be much happening in some scenes, as character converse or go about their daily routines, each moment reveals something about the various people in Suzu's life or Suzu herself. The editing helps create a sense of forward momentum without any one lengthy scene, but rather a collection of smaller moments almost creating a collage effect. As the anime nears its climax, there is a great use of dates and times appearing on screen to increase the sense of dread that something terrible is approaching.

This movie is a fantastically understated wartime drama. Its emotional impact  is built up as you grow attached to the characters throughout the film. Rarely becoming overtly sentimental, the movie instead focuses on creating a realistic world and showing you the events unfold from the perspective of the protagonist. When tragedy finally strikes you feel as though you are experiencing Suzu's same sense loss and sadness. A powerful film that stands proudly beside other great animated features.


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2017,2,A Company Man,1,A Love,1,A Man Vanishes,1,A Simple Life,1,A Tale of Love,1,A Whale of a Tale,1,About Elly,1,Adam J. Symchuk,6,Adam John,1,Aditya Vikram Sengupta,1,Adriana Rosati,3,Alex Oost,1,Amir Masoud Aghababeian,1,Anand Singh,2,Andrew Thayne,1,Anime,1,Anna Bliss,3,Anshul Chauhan,2,Anurag Basu,1,Aqerat,1,Arang,1,Ariyuki Shinbo,1,Armour of God,1,Arrow,1,Article Films,1,Asghar Farhadi,1,Asha Jaoar Majhe,1,Asian Classics,9,Aya Itabe,1,Bad Poetry Tokyo,4,BAMY,1,Bangkok Nites,1,Bangladesh,1,Ben Stykuc,3,Bengal,1,Billy Joe,1,Bloody Muscle Builder in Hell,1,Bollywood,1,Branded to Kill,1,Breathless,1,Burma,1,Burning Birds,1,Camera Japan,5,Children Heaven,1,Chinese Visual Festival,1,Chu Yuan,1,Chungking Express,1,Close-Knit,1,Coffeemates,1,Colette Balmain,2,Confessions,1,Crows Zero,1,Cyrano Agency,1,Daisuke Miyazaki,2,Ddongpari,1,Deadly Outlaw: Rekka,1,Deepak Rauniyar,1,Digger,1,Ding Shen,1,Documentaries,5,Don Anelli,2,Double Life,1,Edmund Yeo,1,Eiji Uchida,1,Erotic Diary of an Office Lady,1,Exploitation,3,Fabricated City,1,Faye Wong,1,Features,7,Festivals,1,Filmdoo,3,Fireworks Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?,1,Flying Fish,1,Forgetting Vietnam,1,Good -Bye Silence,1,Haunters,1,Helsinki Cine Aasia Festival 2018,1,Hidden Gems,14,Hindi,1,Hirokazu Koreeda,1,Hong Kong,3,Horror,2,I-Lin Liu,3,ICA,3,Imran Firdaus,1,In this Corner of the World,2,Indonesia,2,Interview,1,Interviews,19,Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan,1,Inugami,1,Iran,4,Jackie Chan,2,Jagga Jasoos,1,James Mudge,1,Japan,50,Japan Cuts,8,Japan Filmfest Hamburg,1,Jithin K Mohan,1,Joe Odagiri,1,Jonathan Wilson,6,Joo Ji-hong,1,Journey of the Tortoise,1,Jun Tanaka,1,Jung Yoon-suk,1,Junichi Kajioka,1,Katsuya Tomita,1,Kengo Yagawa,1,Kenichi Ugana,1,Kim Hyun-seok,1,Kim Min-suk,1,Kingyo,1,Kiyoshi Kurosawa,1,Koji Wakamatsu,1,Kon Ichikawa,1,Konrad Aderer,1,Krzysztof Pietrzak,1,Kwak Kyung-taek,1,Kyoko Miyake,1,Kyriacos Kyriacou,2,Lady Snowblood,1,Laos,1,Like Father,1,Like Son,1,Lim Sang-yoon,1,Lists,5,Little Big Soldier,1,Love,1,Lowlife Love,1,Mahde Hasan,1,Majid Majidi,1,Malaysia,2,Maria Georgiou,8,Masanori Tominaga,1,Masaru Konume,1,Masato Harada,1,Matt Cooper,4,Mermaid,1,Midi Z,1,Midori Impuls,1,Miwa Nishikawa,1,My Dad and Mr Ito,1,Myanmar,1,Nanachan,1,Naoko Ogigami,1,Naomi Kawase,1,Nepal,1,News,1,Nicholas Poly,2,Nikola Cekic,1,Niwatsukino Norihiro,1,Nobuhiko Obayashi,1,Nobuhiro Yamashita,1,Non-fiction Diary,1,NYAFF,4,Old Boy,2,Omar Rasya Joenoes,2,On The Line Festival,2,Orson McClellan Mochizuki,1,Osaka Asian Film Festival,3,Pai Kau,1,Palatpol Mingpornpichit,1,Panos Kotzathanasis,38,Park Chan-wook,2,Park Ki- hyung,1,Park Kwang-hyun,1,Pedro Morata,3,Pieter - Jan Van Haecke,1,Psychic,1,Pumpkin and Mayonnaise,1,Rabbit and Lizard,1,Railway Sleepers,1,Randy Mckenzie,2,Reviews,30,River of Exploding Durians,1,Roger Lee,1,Ryuki,1,S. Korea,10,San Diego Asian Film Festival,3,Sanjeewa Pushpakumara,1,Sankha Ray,5,Satan's Slaves,1,Satoshi Kon,1,Sayandeep Bandyopadhyay,1,Score,1,Sea Fog,1,Seijun Suzuki,2,Shaw Brothers,1,She's the Boss,1,Shigeru Umebayashi,1,Shikhar Verma,2,Shikhar Verna,2,Shim Sung-Bo,1,Shinichi Fukazawa,1,Shinji Iwai,1,Shinji Sômai,1,Shinya Tsukamoto,2,Shôhei Imamura,1,Shoot for the Contents,1,Shorts,8,Shuna Iijima,1,Sidi Saleh,1,Sinophone,1,Sompot Chidgasompongse,2,Song of the Week,17,South Korea,6,Sri Lanka,1,Still the Water,1,StudioCanal,1,Subenja Pongkorn,1,Suffering of Ninko,1,Sunao Katabuchi,2,Susumu Hirasawa,1,Tadashi Nagayama,1,Takashi Miike,2,Takuro Nakamura,2,Tetsuo the Iron Man,1,Tetsuya Nakashima,1,Thailand,5,The Boy and the Beast,1,The elephant and the sea,2,The Inugami Family,1,The King of Pigs,1,The Road Home,1,The Road to Mandalay,1,The Salesman,1,The Snow King,1,The Sower,1,Tokyo Heaven,1,Tokyo Idols,1,Tom Waller,1,Toshiaki Toyoda,1,Train to Busan,1,Tran Ham,1,Trinh T. Minh-Ha,3,various,2,Vietnam,1,Violated Angels,1,Vital,1,West North West,2,Whispering Corridors,1,White Sun,1,Wiman Rizkidarajat,1,Woman of the Lake,1,Woo Ming Jin,1,Yamato (California),2,Yang Ik-june,1,Yeon Sang-ho,2,Yoshishige Yoshida,1,Yoshiyuki Kishi,1,Yosuke Takeuchi,1,Yu Aoi,1,Yuki Tanada,1,Zhang Yimou,1,Zuairijah Mou,1,
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Asian Film Vault: In this Corner of the World (2017) by Sunao Katabuchi (T)
In this Corner of the World (2017) by Sunao Katabuchi (T)
Poignant wartime drama
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