Film Review: Under the Flag of the Rising Sun (1972) by Kinji Fukasaku

A lot of international viewers almost certainly know filmmaker Kinji Fukasaku for his terrific dystopian action-thriller &#8220Battle Royale,&#8221 a film that blends dark comedy with tragedy and kickstarted a narrative idea that would continue to be regularly utilized in other fictional functions. Some may perhaps associate him with his campy sci-fi attributes like &#8220The Green Slime.&#8221 But, early on, the director gave Japanese audiences viscerally outspoken and bold attributes. Appear no additional than his yakuza film series &#8220Battles Without having Honor and Humanity,&#8221 which tears apart Japan&#8217s most operative crime organizations. The director was under no circumstances afraid to speak his thoughts on a matter, even if he have been to acquire criticism as a outcome. Fukasaku&#8217s mindset is openly expressed in his haunting anti-war masterpiece &#8220Under the Flag of the Increasing Sun.&#8221

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The film is primarily based on a collection of war brief stories by Shoji Yuki. Beyond the supply of adaptation, the screenplay is a collective work written by Kinji Fukasaku, Norio Osada, and Kaneto Shindo. This trio was fitting, contemplating they saw eye to eye politically and have been openly anti-war. In addition, all 3 of them have been impacted by the horrors of Globe War II firsthand. The presentation of the narrative is related to that of Akira Kurosawa&#8217s classic &#8220Rashomon&#8221 with its examination of the complexities of human nature and the search for the truth surrounding a single occasion. &#8220Under the Flag of the Increasing Sun&#8221 is hailed as a single of the finest pieces of Japanese cinema.

Following the finish of the Second Globe War, Japan is in a state of healing. A heartbroken lady named Saki Togashi searches for answers concerning what led to the death of her husband through Globe War II. Sadly, she is denied added benefits although raising her household as a widow, society cruelly forces her into getting an outcast, and the precise lead to of her husband&#8217s death is hidden. All that is identified is her deceased lover, Sergeant Katsuo Togashi, died in New Guinea, but all records surrounding his demise have been destroyed. The government even claims he was a deserter. In search of closure, Saki pursues several of Sergeant Togashi&#8217s former soldier comrades, asking them what occurred, all of which give their personal retelling of events. Some claim he died in combat, was killed for desertion, committed cannibalism, or even participated in torture/murder. Ultimately, the horrific truth is revealed.

The storytelling is excellent, with exciting characters to stick to and themes that are nevertheless highly effective years later. The way the truth is gradually revealed as the narrative continues keeps the audience guessing what will take place subsequent inside the mystery setup. All these elements make terrific suspense although also delivering highly effective drama. It is a horrifying film, and its historical accuracy is on-point. Significantly of what is shown in the flashbacks did certainly transpire in New Guinea. Fukasaku confronts challenges such as ultra-nationalism, war atrocities, and the trauma that followed soon after the finish of the Second Globe War. Stated trauma is additional emphasized by some of the horrifying events that took location in the post-war years. Direct criticism is thrown at the Japanese government, society, and these in energy, like Emperor Hirohito, who was exonerated from all duty concerning war crimes committed by the Imperial Japanese Army. The message of advertising anti-war concepts and avoiding the repeating of previous errors is completely balanced with a compelling and engaging story. The twist at the finish is bone-chilling, topped by a single of the most haunting final lines ever uttered by a character in cinema.

The performances are leading-notch, with every person nailing their roles wonderfully. Sachiko Hidari is phenomenal as Saki Togashi, who eagerly searches for answers concerning the fate of her husband. She is gentle and sort, and it is simple for viewers to sympathize and root for her to attain closure, and it is heartbreaking when she is met with a lot more sorrow in her search. In the aspect of her lover, Sergeant Katsuo Togashi is Tetsuro Tamba, who is terrific, bringing a great deal variety to his function, in particular contemplating that, with every single story, the audience is provided a unique viewpoint of him. Nevertheless, a single point that remains constant with his character is that he is a victim of war. It is pretty exciting seeing him in a function like this, contemplating the year prior he played the ultra-nationalistic sadist Lieutenant Basic Isamu Cho in Kihachi Okamoto&#8217s war epic &#8220Battle of Okinawa.&#8221 All the supporting players are also terrific, a noteworthy standout getting Noboru Mitani as Private Tsuguo Terajima, who plays a essential aspect in the narrative, in particular concerning the shocking revelations of what led to Sergeant Togashi&#8217s death.

Even with a smaller sized spending budget than other war photographs at the time, &#8220Under the Flag of the Increasing Sun&#8221 is technically impressive. Anything clicks from the editing to the sound design and style. The presentation also plays a huge aspect in the story, transitioning from colour to black-and-white all through the film, which adds to the atmosphere and tone. In addition, the cinematography is gorgeous and offers the film a documentary really feel. The director&#8217s staple use of shaky camera methods is completely utilized in the New Guinea flashbacks. The gorgeous visuals are thanks to the excellent function of cinematographer Hiroshi Segawa. In addition, Hikaru Hayashi composes a haunting music score. As standard with the director&#8217s function, Fukasaku does not shy away from disturbing gore, with violence that is not for the faint of heart.

&#8220Under the Flag of the Increasing Sun&#8221 is a phenomenal film and probably Kinji Fukasaku&#8217s boldest function. It&#8217s brilliantly acted and offers audiences a story that will maintain them guessing what will take place subsequent. No punches are held in displaying the horrors of war and the trauma Globe War II left on the nation. The message of how atrocities have to be addressed to keep away from repeated errors nevertheless holds terrific worth now. But if Fukasaku taught viewers something, it is not to twist the previous. Otherwise, history is doomed to repeat itself.

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