A hustler who gets in trouble with a gang boss in the port town of Sukago agrees to make good with the don by putting him in contact with a mysterious hitman -- an assassin the hustler has ... See full summary »
In January, 1902 a troop of soldiers of the Japanese Imperial army are sent on a march over Mt. Hakkoda, in the north part of the main island, to gain winter training in preparation for the upcoming war with Russia. It ends in the worst mountain disaster in Japanese history, with 199 of the 210 men perishing in a severe snowstorm. The trek was ill fated from the start, with the officers stuck in their own rigid thinking. They thought they knew best, and if the men weren't tough enough to survive a march through the woods, they didn't deserve to serve the Emperor. And all those warnings from the locals? They were mere peasants, not worth listening to. This film, based on the "documentary" novel by Jiro Nitta, has some powerful images. One that I'll never forget is the scene of several trying to climb up a steep icy slope. One loses his grip and slides down, taking others along with him. A few go crazy and strip to their loincloths. Others just drop dead. There's no fire and very few provisions. Keeping them going are ironic visions of the area in the late spring and the beautiful guide they met.
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