a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Nichirin no isan

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Based on the novel by Jiri Sato, Nichirin no isan is a plodding World War II story that hides behind an anti-war theme while celebrating the old clichés of nobly, blindly and unquestioningly giving one’s life to one’s nation. The poor suckers in this story are a group of adolescent schoolgirls who are commandeered to help hide the empire’s gold. The outrageously sentimental tale counterpoints the girls’ naiveté and endlessly positivistic attitude against the hardened trio of army officers and their teacher who know that no good will come from this desperate last folly of their superiors. A great set of character actors strive vainly to give a semblance of authenticity to the proceedings. Masato Saki (The Wonderful World of Captain Kuhio) brings a grim razor-lipped intensity to his role as the lead officer of the team. Shidou Nakamura (Letters to Iwo Jima) as always commands screen presence. But in the hands of director, Kiyoshi Sasabe, they and the rest of the cast are left adrift as the film drifts to its predictable denouement.

Originally published in EL Magazine, September 2011.

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Written by Nicholas Vroman

September 1, 2011 at 2:11 am

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