At a glance:
Based on a novel, Kon Ichikawa's wife/production sidekick made a good adaptation usin the musical harp as a storytellin device for a war drama. However, this ain't no ordinary war drama. The Burmese Harp a.k.a. ビルマの竪琴 is an arduous post-WWII tale about redemption and resignation, summed up by the religious path taken by a desertin soldier. We are thrown into the mix when a company of Japanese soldiers are fightin in Burma, oblivious to the fact that their country has surrendered, followin the bombin of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Captain Inoue (Rentaro Mikuni) has kept spirits high through song, and the group peacefully surrenders to the Allies. However, there is another company of soldiers who refuse to give in, promptin the British to seek the captain's help. He elects to send our protagonist, Mizushima (Shoji Yasui), a musical man who has some soft skills beyond military requirements. Little does he know that life would never be the same again for him when he fails the mission.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Can appear quite dated. Man next to me was snorin away, had to wake the bastard up. Watched this at last year's Japanese Film Fest at GSC.
Watch out for:
A particularly impressive scene involves the soldiers pretendin to be boisterous and a little drunk, while movin away some dynamites from the view of the watchful British. It's a well-composed scene of suspense and class; and it speaks well for Ichikawa's credits.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Not every day you see a movie where Jap and Brit soldiers are depicted with such gentleness and suspect valour. Avoidin sentiments on the Sino-Japanese conflict is imperative to enjoy the film; and thank goodness this is just a timeless piece of solid storytelling that can be viewed on its own cinematic merits. Nominated for Best Foreign Language Pic at the 1957 Oscars in the first year such a category was up.★★★1/2