Haunted by the sight of hundreds of Jewish refugees outside the consulate gates, a Japanese diplomat and his wife, stationed in Kaunas, Lithuania at the beginning of World War II, must decide how much they are willing to risk. Inspired by a true story, VISAS AND VIRTUE explores the moral and professional dilemmas that Consul General Chiune "Sempo" Sugihara faces in making a life or death decision: defy his own government's direct orders and risk his career, by issuing live-saving transit visas, or obey orders and turn his back on humanity. This Academy Award® winning 26-minute portrait gracefully captured in period black and white by noted cinematographer Hiro Narita poignantly pays tribute to the rescuer of 6,000 Jews from the Holocaust. Written by
Cedar Grove Productions
A short film inspired by the true story of Chiune Sugihara
Did You Know?
(Sondheimer), who makes a "Special Appearance" as Elderly Woman at Interview, received a life-saving visa from Sugihara when she was 17 years old, which allowed her to escape Lithuania with her family in 1940. She helped with research for the film by sharing family photos and talking about her experience. She passed away in 2006. See more
Although Shizuko Hoshi
performed the scripted voice-over narration for the film (as an elderly Mrs. Sugihara), there are three lines of narration that are not her voice, but instead are spoken by Susan Fukuda
(who plays younger Mrs. Sugihara). This was due to an error by the director, Chris Tashima
, during post production. Tashima had always intended to have Hoshi provide narration throughout. During principal photography, sound mixer Yehuda Maayan
recorded a temp track of Fukuda reading all of the voice over lines, so that editor Irvin Paik
would have an audio track to cut with in editing. Later in post production, a recording session was arranged with Hoshi, and Tashima made a dialogue cue sheet of all the narration lines for Hoshi to record from. However, he missed three lines from the script. It was only discovered in final sound editing that the three lines were never recorded by Hoshi. With a completion date nearing, it was decided to go with takes from Fukuda's temp track (to save time). As it turns out, in the finished film, Tashima felt it actually works very well, since the three lines that are spoken by Fukuda are heard during the 1940 scenes in Lithuania (where Fukuda is also onscreen), and, as a more subtle audio transition, it helped the audience ease back into 1985 (when Hoshi is heard in closing narration). See more
Even a hunter cannot kill a bird which flies to him for refuge.