Fires of the Plain (Nobi) Reviews
If The Burmese Harp (1956) was Ichikawa's humanism testament, Nobi acts as a counterpart of dehumanization, anxiety, fear, madness, cannibalism and delusions. It achieves to be tense and psychologically disturbing, but it also manages to go even one step forward, placing Tamura as a character on his final stage of tuberculosis, slowly losing his humanity, but internally struggling to keep his sanity and adhering himself to his principles before he loses all connection with reality. The constant voiceover proves this struggle to be true. Hence, we have a powerful film that, despite some brief parenthetical digressions, never loses track of its course and offers the challenge to its audiences of making a decision: whether to empathize with the madness of the characters or not. I chose to do so, because I am pretty sure that this hellish psychological war-induced claustrophobia can only be understood by people that have tasted and smelled the battlefield and seen the repercussions in their comrades.
I am praying that none of us here present are given a chance to prove whether if the depiction was accurate or not. Ichikawa always considered the quality of his original WWII-themed sources for the purposes of film adaptation. I trust him.
P.S. This is one of those movies that slowly grows in you and shouldn't be rated immediately.
(1959) Fires on a Plain
(In Japanese with English subtitles)
Story based on actual fact from a novel written by Shohei Ooka while serving for the Japanese army during WWII during the invasion of the Phillipines! Anti-war movie which showcases almost at the end of WWII and the Japanese had already been defeated, turning the focus on a particular person by the name of Tamura while suffering from turbecolosis who gets rejected by first the hospital he was ordered to resettle until it was blown away, taking no prisoners was not an option during that particular time since they'd just be shot down, forcing remaining survivors to find refuge on their own! Hunger was so bad with some of the remaining survivors of the Japanese soldiers that it would lead them to commit acts of cannibalism! This is not a pretty film to watch!
3 out of 4
The performaces of the main character is haunting and captivating; well matched by other characters in the movie.
It is a shame that such movies aren't made anymore and I'd like to be given a chance to see it in a cinema.