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Under the Flag of the Rising Sun (1972)

Cast: Isao Natsuyagi, Tetsuro Tamba, Sachiko Hidari
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
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Studio: Homevision
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Japan, War, WWII
Running Time: 96 min.
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English
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Recently Rented By themark

The quest of a war-widow for the truth about her husband's death during World War II serves as the backbone for this film, which portrays the Japanese militarism of that time and the attitudes which gave rise to it. Though the government labelled her husband as a deserter, his widow does not believe it, and every day she makes a trip to the war reparations office until she finally tracks down four men who knew her husband in his last days. They tell a harrowing story of the breakdown of humanity at the close of the war. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

White Rice and the Emperor by talltale January 13, 2006 - 8:21 PM PST
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Kinji Fukasaku has been making movies in Japan for 45 years now, and while his most famous might be the recent "Battle Royale," an earlier work translated as UNDER THE FLAG OF THE RISING SUN is probably a lot more important. Made in 1972, it explores Japan's part in WWII, both the pain and the responsibility. This is fascinating to watch from an American perspective, even though some of the subtleties may be lost on us Westerners. A lot of different styles merge here, from soap opera to slasher/horror (one scene made me certain that Fukasaku had seen "Night of the Living Dead") to Rashomon-style drama to simple investigation.

Much of it works quite well, though toward the end, the violence and blood threaten to overcome everything else by soaring into camp. Then comes several finales, including a scene featuring white rice that is as heartbreaking as any I can recall, another on the beach that tops it, and finally one in which the lead character says flatly that the government starts a war, and the people pay for it. If this doesn't bring Bush and company immediately to mind, I'll be surprised. Uneven as it is, "Under the Flag of the Rising Sun" is a terrific addition to the world film canon.

Essential Fukasaku by lizzoqops June 9, 2005 - 12:51 PM PDT
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful
I have watched a lot of Fukasaku movies, but after seeing this one today (and immediately watching it a second time), I have to say, this is probably the most important in his filmography. Having seen this, I am better able to understand his rage, his technique, and his empathy towards the rather unsavory characters he choses to portray. If you're a fan, you'll love it. If you haven't discovered this director yet...start here.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.64)
33 Votes
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