Your child 5-11 years

The Island of Giovanni, a beautiful animated film


Inspired by a true story - that of a child who, in 1945, sees his small island invaded by the Russians -, The Island of Giovanni is a particularly sad and moving film. But there is also talk of courage and love. Go see it with family, from 10 years old.

What is the story?

  • Japan, August 15, 1945. The people of the small island of Shikotan, in the north of the country, learn that they have lost the war. For Junpeï and his little brother Kanta, it's the beginning of great upheavals. The Russians (American allies) land in conquered territory. We must give them home, school ...
  • Yet day after day, Japanese children are getting closer to the little "Russkoffs". They play, fight and mix their cultures. Junpei in particular falls under the spell of Tanya, the daughter of the commander of the Red Army, whose hair is as blond as his are black. Until the day when his father, commander of the self-defense forces of the island, is arrested by the Russians ...

What we think

  • How to talk about war to children? By a deep film precisely that does not soften it, but softens it with a watercolor graphics, very sensitive. Everything does not end well in the Island of Giovanni, far from it. Tastsuo, Junpeï and Kanta's father, is imprisoned. Little Kanta will not hold up and will die. Junpei will be separated from Tanya ...
  • So it's a sad film. We are not used to it in the youth animation cinema. But it also emanates a beautiful love of life. Children are faster than adults across borders, inspiring the film with its most beautiful scenes. We have the goosebumps when the little Japanese prefer to sing this Slavic song, almost the same as theirs, which evokes the hills and freedom ...

What your child will love

  • To be projected in another culture, another era: the daily life of a young Japanese child during the conflict of the Second World War. Your cinephile will learn that radio is the essential media to take the news ("Imagine when SMS did not exist"), the electricity is not yet connected.
  • The energy of children, especially the hero Junpeï. It is through him that the story is told. Her little brother is funny, full of life ... And Tanya is also a volunteer.
  • Meet brave heroes, like that joker who is in bad luck sometimes, but who does not hesitate to take risks to save the children. or as the teacher who continues her course despite the weapon pointed at her or as the father of Junpeï and Kanta, who fights to save hungry people on the island.

What you will love too ...

  • Discover this part of the Second World War. The small Japanese island was annexed by the Russians in 1945. Even today, no peace treaty has been signed between Japan and the Soviet Union. Junpeï's story is inspired by the life of Hiroshi Tokuno, the screenwriter of the film, who was 11 when the facts happened. He returns there twice a year, there are always Russian friends ...
  • The Island of Giovanni, by Mizuho Nishikubo, Studio Production, I. G., 1 h 42.

Agnes Barboux