The Burmese Harp

  • 1985
  • Movie
  • NR
  • War

One of the best Japanese films of the 1950s was director Kon Ichikawa's sensitive BURMESE HARP, which won the Palme d'Or at Venice in 1956. Almost 30 years later he returns to the same story for a remake inferior to the original in every way. Nakai is a private in the Japanese army in Burma in the waning days of WW II. Most Japanese surrender when they...read more

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One of the best Japanese films of the 1950s was director Kon Ichikawa's sensitive BURMESE HARP, which won the Palme d'Or at Venice in 1956. Almost 30 years later he returns to the same story for a remake inferior to the original in every way. Nakai is a private in the Japanese army in

Burma in the waning days of WW II. Most Japanese surrender when they discover the war has ended, and Kiichi Nakai is enlisted by the British to persuade the holdouts to do the same. One group refuses, and before Kiichi Nakai can get away from them the British start shelling their position, killing

almost all but leaving Kiichi Nakai alive and wounded. He is nursed back to health by a Buddhist monk and eventually sets out on foot, dressed in monk's garb, to rejoin his comrades at a prisoner-of-war camp. Along the way he stumbles on the bodies of Japanese soldiers, and he stops to bury them

and pray over them. In time his disguise becomes reality, and he becomes a real monk. His comrades in the camp hear of his exploits and try to get him to abandon his calling to return home with them, but he refuses. At one point they train a parrot to find him and relay a message, but he trains

another parrot to tell them he can't go. Before the platoon leaves its camp, Kiichi Nakai shows up outside and plays for his former comrades on his harp. Apart from the chance to put his best-known film in color, one can only wonder why the director made the picture again.

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  • Released: 1985
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: One of the best Japanese films of the 1950s was director Kon Ichikawa's sensitive BURMESE HARP, which won the Palme d'Or at Venice in 1956. Almost 30 years later he returns to the same story for a remake inferior to the original in every way. Nakai is a pr… (more)

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