Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Under the Flag of the Rising Sun (1972)

***********PLEASE READ***************
For this week only the Asian Film Series will be presented at an alternate time and location. The date is still the same, but the film will be shown at 7:35PM in Bolton B52. For location information please see this link http://www4.uwm.edu/map/vt-cent.cfm Bolton is the building behind Lubar Hall on N. Maryland ave. The room is located in the basement and includes a theater style set up with a DVD projector.

Under the Flag of the Rising Sun (1972)

May 12th, 7:35PM in Bolton B52

For decades a war widow has been trying to overturn her husbands status as a deserter, under which charge he was executed days after the surrender. Convinced of a conspiracy by the top brass at covering up the true circumstances, she begins to track down and interview the few surviving soldiers that witnessed the events in the jungles of New Guinea. What emerges challenges concepts of the very notion of truth.
In 1945 a fire in a Japanese munitions factory would leave many of its workers dead. One of the survivors was future director Kinji Fukasaku. This experience in his teenage years would contribute to a deep mistrust of authority, especially those in power during the war. This colored many of his later films including a series of gangster or Yakuzza films known as Battles Without Honor or Humanity that communicated a gritty and critical portrayal of concepts of the value Japanese honor and tradition. Under the Flag of the Rising Sun is one of the few times in which he was able to directly comment on the war. His cinematic style mixes documentary like elements and the use of still images to create a compelling exploration of difficult subject matter.

In the three decades after the end of the war, very few Japanese films had been made regarding the military and of those an even smaller number were particularly critical. There was a slight trend towards exploring the life of average soldiers who were sometimes shown to have been abused by their commanding officers. The best known of these is Fires on the Plain (1959), which deals with desertion and acts of brutality and cannibalism. But this, along with depictions of Japanese war crimes remains a deeply taboo subject for Japanese film making every cinematic exploration of this subject particularly valuable.

Japan, Director Kinji Fukasaku, Cast Sachiko Hidari, Tetsuro Tamba, Noboru Mitani, Sanae Nakahara and Kanemon Nakamura, 96 minutes, in Japanese with English subtitles

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