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In 1939, Sakura Nishi is a young army nurse who is sent to the field hospitals in China during the Sino-Japanese war. She has to assist the surgeon Dr. Okabe with an incredible number of amputations. In the crowded wards, she gives sympathy to some of the soldiers, including sexually servicing one who has lost both arms and has no hope of returning home. She falls in love with Dr. Okabe, and follows him to the front, even though he is impotent from his morphine addiction. Written by
Extremely tough little b/w gem from director, Masumura. It's 1939 and the Japanese are fighting in China, to not very much effect. We follow the efforts of those in field hospitals desperately trying to pick up the pieces when each load of war injured is raced back from the front line. Limbs are sawn off and bullets removed, all without aesthetic but plenty of blood and screams. Amid it all our heroine struggles to recover from her early rape by patients and the requests of the desperate and dying. This movie is so well put together that it is only afterwards you wonder just how that scene where she allows the handless man to feel her with his feet or make her senior a 'man again', without it seeming incongruous within this tale of death and destruction. With the blatant misogynism, nudity, explicit surgery, bondage, drug taking and even cross dressing, not to mention the inherent criticism of the Japanese stance, it is a wonder this film got made, distributed and survived. Important and enthralling film.
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