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Josef von Sternberg directed, photographed, provides the voice-over narration and wrote the screenplay (from a based-on-actual event novel by Michiro Maruyana translated by Younghill Kang) about twelve Japanese seaman who, in June 1944, are stranded on an abandoned-and-forgotten island called An-ta-han for seven years. The island's only inhabitants are the overseer of the abandoned plantation and an attractive young Japanese woman. Discipline is represented by a former warrant officer but ends when he suffers a loss-of-face catastrophe. Soon, discipline and rationality are replaced by a struggle for power and the woman. Power is represented by a pair of pistols found in the wreckage of an American airplane, so important that five men pay for their lives in a bid for supremacy. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
After many months of searching I located Josef's The Saga of Anatahan. It definitely held my attention and was a unique viewing experience. A completely Japanese war tale relayed in english (?) it has a strange beauty that is difficult to approximate in plain text. I don't know how Sternberg decided on this as his last cinematic statement, but it is certainly a fascinating b & w piece.
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