Biruma no tategoto / The Burmese Harp

TitleBiruma no tategoto / The Burmese Harp
Publication TypeFilm
Year of Publication1956
AuthorsIchikawa, Kon
Running Time1h 56min
Date Released01/21/1956
Publication LanguageJapanese

The Burmese Harp is a 1956 Japanese drama film directed by Kon Ichikawa. Based on a children's novel of the same name written by Michio Takeyama, it tells the story of Japanese soldiers who fought in the Burma Campaign during World War II. When a Japanese platoon surrenders to British forces in Burma in 1943, the platoon's harp player, Mizushima (Shôji Yasui), is selected from the prisoners of war to deliver a request for surrender to a Japanese regiment holed up on a mountain. Mizushima fails to convince the soldiers to accept defeat, and a last stand commences. Traumatized by the bloodshed of his fellow countrymen, Mizushima disguises himself as a Buddhist monk and begins a journey toward peace of mind amid the chaos. Magnificently shot in hushed black and white, Kon Ichikawa’s The Burmese Harp is an eloquent meditation on beauty coexisting with death and remains one of Japanese cinema’s most overwhelming antiwar statements, both tender and brutal in its grappling with Japan’s wartime legacy. The film was a critical and commercial success, earning a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film of 1956.

Original Publicationビルマの竪琴
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