This downbeat but fervent pic goes much further than the accepted war masterpieces in detailing humanity in crisis, and the spark left in one man. Production one of the most searing comments on war yet made.

This downbeat but fervent pic goes much further than the accepted war masterpieces in detailing humanity in crisis, and the spark left in one man. Production one of the most searing comments on war yet made.

Story covers the defeat and rout of the Imperial Japanese army during the Philippines campaign in the last World War. A ragged remnant is warned the Americans will slaughter them, and so start a trek through the jungles to the sea. It is all seen through one tubercular Japanese soldier whose approaching death has put him above it all. He manages to maintain a semblance of humanity to keep him from sinking to the cannibalism of many of his fellow soldiers.

Taken from a novel [by Shohei Ooka], director Kon Ichikawa has knit this into a visual tour-de-force in which man’s inhumanity to man is denoted as he sinks into an animal void. The widescreen is well utilized and the acting exemplary. The only criticism might be a certain literary quality in the handling of the lead character, many of whose actions are not always clear. But it is a bone hard, forthright film.

Nobi

Japan

Production

Daiei. Director Kon Ichikawa; Producer Masaichi Nagata; Screenplay Natto Wada; Camera Setsuo Kobayashi; Editor Hiroaki Fujii; Music Yasushi Akutagawa; Art Director Atsuji Shibata

Crew

(B&W) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1959. Running time: 100 MIN.

With

Eiji Funakoshi Mantaro Ushio Yoshihiro Hamaguchi Osamu Takizawa Mickey Curtis Asao Sano
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