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"Under the Flag of the Rising Sun" starts on August 15, 1971 as Sakie Togashi(Sachiko Hidari) makes her annual pilgrimage to the government benefits office to appeal the decision to deny military benefits because her late husband Katsuo(Tetsuro Tanba) was shot for desertion towards the end of the war. It is not the benefits that she is interested in, but more his reputation. The board is sympathetic to her plight, having written the other men of his unit but no concrete evidence emerged. However, four did not respond and she seeks them out, starting with Terajima(Noburo Mitani) who says her husband died bravely in battle.
"Under the Flag of the Rising Sun" is a striking film that utilizes a variety of styles with an ordinary one for the present while black and white is mostly used for the war scenes that are color splattered with violence. Most unusual is the use of freeze frame and archival footage which lends it a documentary feel at times. All of which is put to use in a powerful exploration of memory in general and specifically how that applies to insuring that the horrors or war are never forgotten, and most importantly, not repeated. This is set in a country 26 years after its last disastrous war and is now in the midst of a booming prosperity, as the past is being quickly erased. In the end, there is hope in a burgeoning peace movement.
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