7.3/10
96
3 user 2 critic

Visas and Virtue (1997)

Europe, 1940. For thousands of Jews, a Japanese diplomat and his wife defy Tokyo and the Nazis, and offer visas, for life.

Director:

Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Wasp (2003)
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Zoë is a single mother who lives with her four children in Dartford. She is poor and can't afford to buy food. One day her ex-boyfriend drives by and asks her to go on a date with him. ... See full summary »

Director: Andrea Arnold
Stars: Natalie Press, Danny Dyer, Jodie Mitchell
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The creators of Visas and Virtue (1997) (1997 Academy Award Winner, Best Live Action Short Film) bring you another important historical narrative. This dramatic film, set in a Japanese ... See full summary »

Director: Chris Tashima
Stars: Derek Mio, Marcus Toji, Alan Muraoka
Mudbound (2017)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after war.

Director: Dee Rees
Stars: Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke
Wolfgang (1997)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A composer with a straining birth name is caught between his mother fixation and his need to father his own ambitions.

Director: Anders Thomas Jensen
Stars: Stig Hoffmeyer, Frits Helmuth, Vera Gebuhr
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Shizuko Hoshi ...
Narrator (Elderly Mrs. Sugihara)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Woman
...
Brother
Martin Fontana ...
Man
...
Cantor
Alan H. Friedenthal ...
Refugee #1
Eric Gugisch ...
German Officer
...
...
Brother
Noel Miller ...
Young Man
...
Edit

Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A short film inspired by the true story of Chiune Sugihara

Genres:

Short

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

20 April 1997 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The train departure sequence near the end of the film was shot on location at Travel Town, a historic train museum in Los Angeles' Griffith Park. During World War II, this area served as a detention center where Japanese Americans were falsely imprisoned for being suspected as dangerous "Enemy Aliens," solely based on their ethnicity. No Japanese in America were ever charged, tried or convicted of espionage during World War II. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Yukiko Sugihara: Even a hunter cannot kill a bird which flies to him for refuge.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Independent Lens: Visas and Virtue/I Am Viet Hung (1999) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
This is an amazing film--why haven't we heard more about it?!
10 March 2008 | by See all my reviews

This film is about a true hero. A seemingly ordinary man that chose to do the right thing even at the risk of his own life. Like Oskar Schindler and John Rabe, Sempo Sugiwara actively worked to save as many lives as he could during mass genocide. While not the safe or expedient thing to do, these men did what they did because they had to act--to do anything to save the few innocents that they could during the 1930s and 40s. Schindler, you've most likely heard about as it was chronicled in the great Steven Spielberg film SCHINDLER'S LIST. Rabe and Sugiwara's stories are a bit different. Today they are still largely forgotten--especially in their home countries. Rabe was a Nazi official in Nanking, China who risked his own life in 1937 to save countless thousands of Chinese peasants from massacre by a rampaging Japanese army. Sempo Sugiwara was a minor Japanese diplomat in Lithuania who risked his life and career writing 2000 exit visas for Jews fleeing the German invasion--even after his own government warned him not to.

This almost thirty minute film tells the extremely touching story of Sugiwara's crusade to save as many as he could before he was ultimately relocated to another post. While the embassy reportedly averaged 300 visas a month, Sugiwara wrote that many each day until eventually 6000 unwanted Jews were allowed to escape annihilation.

The story is told very simply and with great deftness. Considering that the film was made by two men with very limited experience in the field (Chris Tashima and Tom Donaldson), it's a truly amazing film that had me in tears. Considering that this film is brilliantly executed, it's no surprise that this film ended up winning an Academy Award. A truly exceptional film---so why is it rated so poorly on IMDb?!?!?


3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 3 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Best of 2017: Our Favorite Movie and TV Stills

Take a look at our favorite movie and TV stills from the past year. Spot any of your faves?

Browse the Best of 2017