This sensuously beautiful film chronicles the activities of four sisters who gather in Kyoto every year to view the cherry blossoms. It paints a vivid portrait of the pre-war lifestyle of ... See full summary »
Ichikawa's cameras follow the 1964 Summer Olympics from opening to closing ceremonies. Sometimes he focuses on spectators, as athletes pass in a blur; sometimes he isolates a competitor; ... See full summary »
Yukinojo, a Kabuki actor, seeks revenge by destroying the three men who caused the deaths of his parents. Also involved are the daughter of one of Yukinojo's targets, two master thieves, and a swordsman who himself is out to kill Yukinojo.
Ishun is a wealthy, but unsympathetic, master printer who has wrongly accused his wife and best employee of being lovers. To escape punishment, the accused run away together, but Ishun is certain to be ruined if word gets out.
Mizushima is a soldier in the Japanese army in Burma in World War II. He's a good soldier and frequently plays his harp to entertain his fellow soldiers. When the war comes to an end, he is asked by the British to go into the mountains to try and convince a Japanese troop to surrender. Given only 30 minutes to convince them, Mizushima is unsuccessful - they would rather die with honor - and the British attack. Deeply affected by what has happened, he becomes a Buddhist monk, traveling the countryside burying the remains of Japanese soldiers. He is unable however to rejoin his brothers-in-arms. Written by
According to the Bloomsbury Foreign Film Guide by Ronald Bergan and Robyn Karney, this World War II film was "one of the first Japanese films concerned with pacifist themes related to the defeat of Japan in 1945." See more »
The 'British' officer in charge of the funerary cremation repository speaks with a decidedly Australian, not British, accent. See more »
This is a film about the immediate aftermath of war from the perspective of the defeated. A Japanese company exhausted by their retreat through the Burmese jungle learn of their nation's surrender. At the request of their allied captors one of their number, Mizushima, agrees to journey to a mountain stronghold where another company is still holding out and engaging in combat. He tries to persuade his compatriots to lay down their arms and narrowly escapes death when they are massacred after refusing to give in. Appalled by the carnage around him, Mizushima decides not to return to his colleagues or country. Disguised as a Buddhist monk, he embarks on the task of laying to rest the war dead that would otherwise fall prey to the vultures. There is nothing in the way of plot beyond this. "The Burmese Harp" is that rare thing, a war film that does not rely on action. Rather does it attempt to define the innate dignity of a former aggressor attempting to salvage some sort of meaning through reparation rather than taking the comfortable course that peace can offer. Ichikawa's tender tribute to a form of saintliness sometimes totters on the tightrope of sentimentality and oversimplification - did ever weary soldiers sing more beautifully! - but by the end the message overrides all doubts. We are witnessing a proud expansionist nation coming to terms with collapse and attempting, through the powerful symbol of Mizushima, to expiate its past. Ichikawa made this film towards the end of the golden age of monochrome. that of Welles, Reed, Wyler and Ford. Like those giants he gives us wonderful closeups. "The Burmese Harp" abounds in evocative images of Burmese villagers, Buddhist monks and Japanese soldier that once seen leave an indelible impression within the mind.
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