Opening 2 Jun 2022
Writing credits: Bernard Cendron, Arthur Harari, Vincent Poymiro
Principal actors: Yûya Endô, Kanji Tsuda, Yûya Matsuura, Tetsuya Chiba, Shinsuke Kato
A young Hiroo Onoda (Yûya Endô) attends a special intelligence school where he hopes to become a pilot in 1944 but finds that they have other plans for him which will change his life forever. The Japanese intelligence officer is placed in charge of a small group of men to protect the main island of Lubrang, which is in an archipelago that lies to the northwest of the northern end of Mindoro in the Philippines. The sound of constant rain, the jungle, and encounters with local farmers seem to be an ongoing saga. The film follows the mishaps of the group -- as we watch, one by one, the group vanishes into the jungle, leaving only Hiroo Onoda, who survives another 30 years believing that the war is still going on.
Based loosely on the true story of Shoichi Yokoi, we see both the physical and mental hardships that he must have endured until he was repatriated to Japan in 1974. The film starts off tediously slow but picks up speed as more people disappear. The film is truly a character study of one man’s determination and loyalty to serve his country, which in essence is what keeps him alive. The film is challenging since it is in Japanese with German subtitles. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)