With 'From Up on Poppy Hill' on the way, Studio Ghibli's 10 best movies
From 'Spirited Away' to 'Arrietty,' counting down the Japanese studio's finest
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3. "Grave of the Fireflies" (1988, directed by Isao Takahata)
Hailed by Roger Ebert as one of the greatest war films ever made, "Grave of the Fireflies" is a fascinating and essential anomaly in Ghibli's collection: a film with subtle, gorgeous brushes of fantasy, yes, but ultimately steeped in shattering realism. Unspooling in flashback as it depicts the unhappy fate of two starving orphans at the close of WWII in Kobe, its child's-eye view of survival is so visceral as to make one forget the film is even animated, yet its flourishes of illuminated beauty could hardly be more painterly. GKIDS is re-releasing the film this year for its 25th anniversary: do catch it if you've never seen it before.