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How do You Draw Love in the Middle of War?


Despite being an animated film, this story written by Sunao Katabuchi-Chie Uratani, which is based on the manga titled—‘In This Corner of the World’ by Fumiyo Kōno definitely provides its audience the kind of drama set in the 1930s-1940s wartime in Hiroshima and Kure in Japan, roughly 10 years before and after the horrific atomic bombing.

In this Corner of the World

In the film, a young woman named Suzu, innocent and is fond of drawing; she lived in a seaside town called Eba in Hiroshima City. At 18 years of age she married Shūsaku, an earnest and quiet man; who worked as a judicial officer at the military court in Kure.

Suzu opted to live with Shūsaku in Kure City. Her husband lived with his family located on a hillside in the suburbs of Kure, with a view of the Japanese Naval Fleet in the harbor, including the largest battleships, Yamato and Musashi. Suzu enjoys touching nature and viewing warships moving on the sea with her niece, Harumi.

One day, a navy sailor named Tetsu comes to see Suzu. He was her childhood friend, now assigned to the Japanese cruiser Aoba stationed in Kure. During the night, Shūsaku allowed Tetsu and Suzu to be alone with each other; thinking that it might be the last time for the two to see each other for war is on. Little did he know that Suzu and Tetsu loved each other and professed their feelings toward each other. They copulated that night as well.

In the springtime, Shūsaku is drafted by the Navy and temporarily quartered with troops in Otake City, 40 miles away from Kure.

As mentioned in the film’s logline—‘torn apart by war’—the relationship between Shūsaku and Suzu were also falling apart. It even got worst when the U.S. army began its air raids on the Japanese mainland, in Kure. In July, urban areas of Kure are firebombed and mostly burnt down. Suzu is nearly killed by a U.S. low-level strafing run, but saved by Shūsaku. But the inevitable tragedy happened—Suzu lost her brother Yōichi, her niece Harumi, and her right arm—the one she used to draw the things she sees and imagine. She suffered in depression, and planned to return to the relative safety of her hometown (Eba) in Hiroshima City in time for the local summer festival on August 6. But on the morning of that day, a huge and marvelous cloud was rolling up over the mountain from the direction of Hiroshima City. The atomic bombing horribly destroyed countless humans and buildings in Hiroshima City.

It distraught Suzu. Probably, anyone who find himself or herself in a similar situation as Suzu—one will definitely be in a nervous breakdown.

Watching the film will also open the viewers’ eyes on the perils of war. One can ask: ‘How do You Draw Love in the Middle of War?’

After the war, Shūsaku found a new job and began a new life with Suzu, again. The latter regained her motivation to get through life and still draw love for herself and others.

Directed by Sunao Katabuchi, featuring character designs by Hidenori Matsubara and music by Kotringo—it vividly captured the episodes and background of the story are based on facts and real incidents—the lost townscape of pre-war Hiroshima, the damaged Hiroshima due to the atomic bombing; accurately supported by old photos, documents, and the memories of living people.

Suzu’s battled the horrors of war and her depression, which the moviegoers can surely empathized with.

Now showing in theaters, catch it soon.

In 2016, The film won in the following awards—Hiroshima Peace Film Award (3rd Hiroshima International Film Festival) and Best Film (38th Yokohama Film Festival).

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