Jeff's #88: Grave of the Fireflies (Isao Takahata, 1988)
This came out the year I was born, but I only saw it for the first time a few years ago. I first watched the Japanese version with English subtitles (the superior viewing experience), but there is a free English-dubbed version available to download on Archive.org, so thankfully I was able to download and rewatch. Here's the link to the download if anyone's interested. If you've seen it, you're fully aware that it lives up to its reputation as one of the saddest movies ever made. If you haven't seen it, be prepared - it's achingly tragic.
You probably only ever need to see GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES once, but I'm glad I rewatched it. This time around I was mostly struck by its use of silence and stillness and the gleeful moments of childish play. It's partially an anti-war film, but I think it's even more general than that. It's a cry for compassion and goodwill towards our fellow human beings on earth, especially all of the children around us who are so vulnerable. The lives of the two children in GOTF are as fragile and fleeting as fireflies. They burn at dusk with a momentary radiance and then extinguish in the morning light. No one in their isolating, war-ridden community seems to notice or care. How precious their lives are. How tragic they have been made so expendable.