In This Corner of the World is a Japanese animated drama centered around people surrounded by war. Set in 1930s and 1940s Japan, the story follows Suzu Urano, from her youthful days full of art and endless imagination, to living away from home for the first time and marrying someone she barely knows.
Most of the film takes place just outside Hiroshima, in a small town called Kure. As the tragic events loom closer, we sit at the edge of our seats hoping Suzu doesn't go back home to Hiroshima. We get to see everyday life in countryside Japan, with Suzu growing up and learning how to cook, running errands, and sketching the world around her. The normalcy of the first half of the film feels so sentimental and nostalgic that it almost comes across as too slow - but it is knowledge of the inevitable that creates a sense of apprehension.
As the film moves into wartime, air raids and rations become part of daily life and the story intensifies, building up to the events of the bombing. The film becomes centered around how people deal with the struggles of war. As threat of an attack becomes a part of everyday life, we see Suzu and her family escaping into bomb shelters on a daily basis. As food becomes more and more scarce, we see them survive with anything they have available. As they endure the unendurable, we see how war changes their lives forever.
Despite everything going on around her, Suzu comments, "Even in war, cicadas cry and butterflies fly". This outlook and the story of Suzu becomes a reflection of Japan – forever changed, but moving forward. In a story that is both familiar and unfathomable at the same time, this beautifully animated slice of life shows that even in the face of war, people stick together and rebuild their lives.
A movie for music lovers, Baby Driver is the quintessential action movie styled with a flair for musical drama. Many scenes are cut artfully to synchronize with the music, as it is a driving component for Baby (Ansel Elgort). Baby is a daring getaway driver who needs music to tune out the tinnitus in his ears so he can perform crazy driving stunts, which left me on the edge of my seat. The heist crew is an ensemble of talented actors including Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm, Eiza González, Jamie Foxx, and Kevin Spacey. Nobody really likes their crewmates but that doesn’t matter to them when money is on the line.
Baby isn’t working as getaway driver for Doc (Kevin Spacey) because he wants the money; he is finishing working off an underworld debt to Doc who isn’t a man you want to cross. When Baby pays his debt off, starts delivering pizzas, and begins dating the local dinner waitress Debora (Lily James), he is striving to rebuild his life without crime. However, Doc isn’t having his favorite wheelman waltz off into the night leaving him right before the big job, and ropes Baby back in with threats and intimidation.
When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I wrote it off as just another action film, which I would see at some point in the future. That impression does hit that mark, as the story is not overly complex or unique. But the visual and musical storytelling style makes the movie unique and captivating. So if you have a quiet night coming up, I would recommend checking out the movie and if you are a music person like me, the soundtrack as well.
- Amanda, Information Services
The Library Made Me Do It
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
I have always struggled with organizing my personal space, and have taken out many books on decluttering, organizing, how to set up small homes efficiently, etc. None of them worked for me and I gave up for quite a while. Then I kept noticing Marie Kondo’s books circulating through the library. They piqued my interest, and when the next copy of “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” was returned, and I checked it out.
The whole focus of the KonMari method is joy. You go through everything you own, one category at a time, and only keep the things that make you happy. Before I would try to find space for everything and only getting rid of things I hadn’t used for a while, or things I didn’t think I would use. I would keep things that were presents (mostly out of guilt) or that had a lot of memories attached to them. It was inevitably overwhelming. This time, if it didn’t make me happy, I got rid of it. I was surprised by the number of sentimental items that I got rid of. For example, the shirts from the shows I worked on in high school. I still have the memories - I don’t need the shirts for that - but the shirts themselves didn’t make me happy. They actually made me kind of sad since they were faded and worn, and definitely didn’t fit anymore.
Reading these books really inspired me to make a change. Her instructions were clear and she was very supportive of the readers and what they would be going through with this massive undertaking. It had never occurred to me before, but what she says makes so much sense: only keep the things that bring you joy. It is truly surprising how many things I have in my house that I don't need or that don't make me happy. I feel so much lighter and happier once I purge a category of items! It feels very freeing.
Marie Kondo also provides tips to stay organized and store things efficiently. I doubted her method for folding clothes, but once I tried it I was sold. It made everything so compact and easy to organize. She has suggestions for visually appealing layouts for various items that make your space look more uplifting. Not only has my living space improved since reading these books, but my mental health has as well. I feel happier and more relaxed at home.
If you are interested in making a change to your organizational lifestyle, I would definitely suggest reading Marie Kondo’s books. They offer a fresh perspective and can bring about real change with lasting results. You can check out all three of her books from the Kitchener Public Library by clicking here!
- Ashley, Information Services
In the Community
Rock and Rumble
Do you like boxing, motorcycles and Canadian classic rock music? If so, don’t miss this year’s 7th annual Rock and Rumble event at Carl Zehr Square on July 28th. Hundreds of custom and vintage motorcycles from across Ontario will rumble down King St. in the afternoon and then park in front of Kitchener City Hall so bike enthusiasts can take a closer look. At 6 PM the first round of boxing gets underway with amateur boxers from around the province competing. Rock and Rumble will also have delicious offerings from local food truck vendors as well as a beer garden with local craft brews. And if all that wasn’t enough, this year’s concert features two iconic Canadian bands, the Northern Pikes and Honeymoon Suite (Wave Babies, anyone?). Admission is free to this action-packed event. Click here for more information about this year’s Rock and Rumble.
- Julie, Information Services
Out of the Archives
Ready, Set, Action!
Did you know that a little bit of Hollywood magic happened in the early 1940s and 1950s in Kitchener? And that it can be found in the collections of the Grace Schmidt Room of Local History? We’ve recently digitized some 16mm films from the Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce collection and want to share them with you at our upcoming Kitchener Movie Night! Local filmmaker and entrepreneur, John A. Colombo, was hired by the Chamber in 1947 to create a promotional film about Kitchener to promote the city and its burgeoning post-war industrial boom. The film titled, “A Conestoga Wagon Stopped Here” chronicled the history of Waterloo County and the industrial development of the area. Later in 1957, the Phillips Company was contracted to produce the film called “The Industrial Progress of Kitchener” which highlighted local businesses and economic development opportunities available in the area. Come join us on Tuesday August 21st at 7pm at the Forest Heights Library for a showing of these local history treasures! Register here for the event. Please note that this is a repeat showing of the February 6, 2018 Kitchener Movie Night held at Central.
- Karen, Local History Librarian
Kitchener Public Library 85 Queen St. North Kitchener, Ontario N2H2H1 519-743-0271 http://www.kpl.org/