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Anime Masterpieces, a new series highlighting the best in Japanese animated feature films, presents “Grave of the Fireflies,” Saturday, Dec. 6, 2 p.m., in the Freer Gallery of Art’s Meyer Auditorium. The film is followed by a panel discussion with leading authorities on the subject of Japanese animation, or anime.
Produced by New York-based company Gorgeous Entertainment, the series is aimed at enhancing the understanding and appreciation of the Japanese art of anime. At each screening, audience members are given study guides containing essays by eminent scholars of Japanese pop culture and animation, which are supplemented by numerous images from the film.
Major support for the series is provided by the Japan External Trade Organization. Arrangements for the screening are also made possible by Central Park Media, the U.S.-based distributor for the film.
The winner of several international film awards, “Grave of the Fireflies,” written and directed by Isao Takahata, chronicles the experiences of two children as they valiantly struggle to survive amidst the ravaged landscape of Japan during World War II. It is considered by many critics as one of the most moving anti-war films ever made. Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert calls the film “an emotional experience so powerful it forces a rethinking of animation.”
The panel discussion features Pulitzer prize-winning historian John W. Dower, author of “Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II”; Japanese literary authority Susan J. Napier, author of “Anime from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle”; and manga and anime historian Frederick L. Schodt, author of “Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics.”
The next scheduled screening of “Grave of the Fireflies” is Feb. 11, 2009, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
The next film in the Anime Masterpieces series is “Tekkonkinkreet” and is available for screenings courtesy of Sony Home Entertainment beginning January 2009. For more information, visit www.AnimeMasterpieces.com or contact Kenji Kono at (212) 398-7145 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Up to two free tickets per person to the “Grave of the Fireflies” screening at the Meyer Auditorium will be distributed one hour before show time. For a listing of all featured films, please visit www.asia.si.edu/events/films.asp.
The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, located at 1050 Independence Avenue S.W., and the adjacent Freer Gallery of Art, located at 12th Street and Independence Avenue S.W., are on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day, except Dec. 25, and admission is free. The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the National Mall. For more information about the Freer and Sackler galleries, the public is welcome to visit www.asia.si.edu. For general Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.
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