Fires on the Plain (Nobi) (1959)
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Critic Reviews for Fires on the Plain (Nobi)
This downbeat but fervent pic goes much further than the accepted war masterpieces in detailing humanity in crisis, and the spark left in one man. Production one of the most searing comments on war yet made.
Packs a powerful antiwar message. As with Eastwood's Iwo Jima, it dispels the myth that every Japanese soldier had the suicidal desire to die for his country.
The performance of Eiji Funakoshi as the straggler cannot help but make you feel a terrible sense of the human waste and pathos represented in the ruin of this poor man.
No other film on the horrors of war has gone anywhere near as far as Kon Ichikawa's 1959 Japanese feature.
We are reminded that all are marked by the atrocities of war and that winners and losers alike have to bear the burden of their memories and struggle to find their humanity anew once peace returns.
Audience Reviews for Fires on the Plain (Nobi)
A brutal look at the last days of the second World War for a group of Japanese soldiers in the Philippines. Our protagonist is a TB-infected soldier who the hospital won't admit because he isn't sick enough, as he 'can still walk". He is run out of his unit because he is eating valuable food -- mostly yams -- and not able to contribute to gathering it. He then meets up with a variety of soldiers who aren't much better off than he is. He witnesses illnesses, cruelty, starvation and even cannibalism in the end. The horrifying events shown are even more shocking in that the story is based on true-life, a book written by a soldier who witnessed all this and probably more. The only ising that keeps me from giving this a higher rating is the first few minutes of the film. Our protagonist is standing at attention while he is reamed out by his commander. This reaming-out is basically exposition of the story. I would have liked it more had the action been played out rather than just explained. But other than that, a quality film from beginning to end.
another brilliant film from the great kon ichikawa. fires of the plain deals with taboo subjetcs for japanese culture such as the surrender of soldiers in the time of war and cannabalism, but there is a sense of honesty and reality in the portrayal of these things. the camera work and acting were perfect, and although the story hit a wall for about 20 minutes in the middle, it picked back up and ended with excellence. beautiful anti-war film.
Beautifully shot, but disturbing stuff here. This is how war movies should be made.
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