Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ningen no joken 2

Ningen no jôken: Dai 3 bu - Bôkyô hen + Ningen no jôken: Dai 4 bu - Sen'un hen / The Human Condition 2: The Road to Eternity / [Ihmisen kohtalo 2: Tie ikuisuuteen] / [Människans lott 2: Vägen till evigheten]. JP 1959. CAST: Tatsuya Nakadai (Kaji), Michiyo Aratama (Michiko), Keiji Sada (Kageyama), Hideo Kisho (Kudo), Jun Tatara (Hino). 179'. Print: Japan Foundation, with English subtitles. - General comments and credits: see Ningen no joken 1. Besides Candide, one could compare this story with Don Quijote. Epic grandeur and scope in this account of sadism and the rare nobility of spirit. - Memorable in this part: [3] the Kwangtung Army at -32 grades Celsius - bullying in the barracks - [the feeling of the extreme chill is not conveyed] - "Reds" blacklisted by the Kenpeitai under especially grim bullying - Kaji still the defender of the weakest - punished by the hardest duty - Kaji meets for the last time Michiko, who has come to visit him - the long marches, the endurance of Kaji - the weak Obara commits suicide under extreme humiliation (this may have influenced Kubrick in Full Metal Jacket) - Shinjo escapes during a prairie fire - Kaji and the bullying officer almost drown in the mire - Kaji catches marsh fever, the bully dies of it - the biggest laugh in the whole 10-hour picture: the head nurse of the military hospital is as big a bully as the worst barrack sergeants - true human beings always find kindred spirits: the friendly nurse and Kaji are both expelled as their innocent friendship (qf. They Were Expendable) is revealed - [4] - Kaji gets to train a platoon of grown-up recruits at the late stage of the war - Kaji is humiliated, hit and harassed by the veteran under-officers - Okinawa has fallen - "it's un-Japanese to consider a loss" - pride and face don't mean anything to me now - Kaji is punished by sending him to the trench-digging detail - Soviet attach at the Manchurian border - still digging trenches - in the area that is due to suffer heavy casualties - Kaji's warning of 15 Soviet tanks is not believed - Don't be a coward - Never give up - full attack of the Red Army - Make every bullet count - Long live the Japanese Empire - almost the whole unit is wiped out dead by the Red Army - only Kaji and a couple others survive, suffering war madness - Is anyone alive?

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