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Seeking Recommendations: Japanese Films on WWII or the Immediate Post-War Years

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Showing 1-14 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 26, 2011 9:03:19 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 26, 2011 1:14:52 PM PDT
J.Espresso says:
Does anyone have a title to recommend? I'd like to see a Japanese film with a historical angle, a film that illuminates their perspective or experience with WWII or the immediate post-war years. The film would need to be subtitled in English. I've done some searching online, and haven't really been able to come up with much.

I'm not interested in recommendations for American films on the subject, as all of these would have an American or Western perspective, and I know of dozens of these already. I'm also less interested in something specific to the attack on Pearl Harbor -- but other than that, anything would be appreciated. Specific topics of interest would include the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, and most especially, anything that casts some light on the experiences and sentiments of ordinary citizens during or immediately after the war.

Okay film buffs...does anyone have a title to suggest because I don't know of a single one, but am really intrigued by this topic.

UPDATE: I have found two titles, both Kurosawa films. One from 1944 called (translated as) "The Most Beautiful", about women in an optics factory during the war, and one called "No Regrets for our Youth", filmed in 1946, and focusing on the immediate post-war period. Neither seem to be regarded as seminal Kurosawa works, but I'd love to hear from anyone who may have seen either of them, particularly the latter one.

Other suggestions on films and filmmakers are still welcome.

Posted on May 26, 2011 12:21:34 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 21, 2011 8:43:09 AM PDT]

Posted on May 26, 2011 12:35:40 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 26, 2011 12:36:03 PM PDT
J.Espresso says:
Thanks, but that's not really what I'm looking for. I don't want any American involvement in the film at all. I'd like a completely Japanese produced, directed and acted film. The only thing I want that's non-Japanese in it would be English subtitles.

I'm sort of looking for a Kurosawa-like film (as I don't believe that Kurosawa tackled more modern history) that deals with this period of 20th century history rather than 16th century feudal history.

Posted on May 26, 2011 1:03:58 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 21, 2011 8:43:09 AM PDT]

Posted on May 26, 2011 1:13:19 PM PDT
J.Espresso says:
Thanks Graves. I'll give it a shot. I did find one film more akin to what I'm looking for, and listed it as an update (along with a link to info on the film) in the OP.

Posted on May 26, 2011 1:35:00 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 21, 2011 8:43:10 AM PDT]

Posted on May 26, 2011 1:56:48 PM PDT
typhon says:
have a movie "fires on the plain" directed by Kon Ichakawa, made in 1959. in japanese with english subtitles. it takes place in the Philippines during wwii. i found it to be very interesting. purchased it from amazon several years ago. cam

Posted on May 26, 2011 2:38:15 PM PDT
Zolar Waka says:
Black Rain

In reply to an earlier post on May 26, 2011 2:40:09 PM PDT
J.Espresso says:
Interesting footnote from Wikipedia on Tora! Tora! Tora! Did you know that Kurosawa was supposed to have helmed the Japanese parts? From Wikipedia:

The director meanwhile had become involved in a much more ambitious Hollywood project. Tora! Tora! Tora!, produced by 20th Century Fox and Kurosawa Production, would be a portrayal of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor from both the American and the Japanese points-of-view, with Kurosawa helming the Japanese half and an English-speaking filmmaker directing the American half. He spent several months working on the script with Ryuzo Kikushima and Hideo Oguni, but very soon the project began to unravel. The director chosen to film the American sequences turned out not to be the prestigious English filmmaker David Lean, as the producers had led Kurosawa to believe, but the much less celebrated special effects expert, Richard Fleischer. The budget was also cut, and the screen time allocated for the Japanese segment would now be no longer than 90 minutes-a major problem, considering that Kurosawa's script ran over four hours. After numerous revisions, a more or less finalized cut screenplay was agreed upon in May 1968. Shooting began in early December, but Kurosawa would last only a little over three weeks as director. He struggled to work with an unfamiliar crew and the requirements of a Hollywood production, while his working methods puzzled his American producers, who ultimately concluded that the director must be mentally ill. On Christmas Eve 1968, the Americans announced that Kurosawa had left the production due to "fatigue," effectively firing him. (He was ultimately replaced, for the film's Japanese sequences, with two directors, Kinji Fukasaku and Toshio Masuda.)[123]

In reply to an earlier post on May 26, 2011 2:44:19 PM PDT
J.Espresso says:
Carol and Zolar, thanks for those suggestions. I'm making a note of each of these. "Fires on the Plain" in particular looks pretty interesting, although a bit pricey on Amazon.

In reply to an earlier post on May 26, 2011 3:01:28 PM PDT
Zolar Waka says:
Burmese Harp - Criterion Collection is another great Ichikawa WWII-themed film.

Another great WWII theme is Kobayashi's The Human Condition: The Criterion Collection, but it certainly requires quite the investment ($ and time)!

In reply to an earlier post on May 26, 2011 3:15:38 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 26, 2011 3:19:55 PM PDT
J.Espresso says:
Wow, "The Human Condition" looks really interesting. A 3 part, 9 1/2 hour film however, you're right -- that IS a commitment. (Sort of like watching the Godfather I, II and III in succession). I might just give it a shot though -- over multiple days. Thanks!

Posted on Jun 5, 2012 3:45:04 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 6, 2012 9:23:49 AM PDT
Steelers fan says:
Kurosawa made "Ikuru" ("To Live"), released in 1952, set in the postwar era. Aging, mortality, and family relations are explored. Would make a good double bill with De Sica's "Umberto D.", from the same year.

Posted on Jun 8, 2012 6:46:45 PM PDT
AJA says:
Kabei (Our Mother) from 2008. Screenplay and direction by Yoji Yamada. A story of one Japanese family's struggles during WWII. Like all of Yamada's many many films, it's about ordinary people trying to do their best. And, typical of Yamada's films, it'll make you both laugh and cry.

Nijushi no Hitomi (24 Eyes) from 1954. Screenplay and direction by Keisuke Kinoshita. The story actually takes place between 1928 and the end of WWII, focusing on a teacher and her twelve students and how that tempestuous period of time affects their lives. A melodrama in the best sense of the word.
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Discussion in:  Movie forum
Participants:  6
Total posts:  14
Initial post:  May 26, 2011
Latest post:  Jun 8, 2012

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