July, 1943: Japan's army is on the run. A platoon in Burma sings to keep its spirit up. Inspiration comes from their self taught lute player, Mizushima. At war's end, while they await repatriation at Mudon prison camp, Mizushima is sent to convince a Japanese company dug into a mountain that it must surrender. He fails, the British attack, many die, and his companions fear he's been killed. However, he has survived and disguised himself as a Buddhist priest. En route to Mudon to join his comrades, the frequent sight of dead Japanese soldiers overwhelms him. He vows to live a life of prayer, burying bones and bodies; his friends want him to return with them to Japan. Written by
Did You Know?
The film was originally slated to shoot in three-strip color, but director Kon Ichikawa
worried that the huge camera might break down on location and he would not be able to have it fixed, so he shot in black-and-white. See more
The 'British' officer in charge of the funerary cremation repository speaks with a decidedly Australian, not British, accent. See more
Voice of Mizushima's parrot
No, I can't go back.
Remade as The Burmese Harp
("Dreaming of Home and Mother")
Written by John Pond Ordway See more