Wandering in dazed retreat from the advancing American army, a Japanese soldier crosses the appalling devastation of a Philippine island, his life spared only because his tubercular condition makes him unfit for consumption by the starving, dehumanized masses who hide in the rubble. No other film on the horrors of war has gone anywhere near as far as Kon Ichikawa's 1959 Japanese feature; it's obsessionally fixed on the sheer horror of human existence, and the terror and hopelessness keep mounting. With Eiji Funakoshi, Osamu Takizawa, and Mickey Curtis; based on a novel by Shohei Ooka. In Japanese with subtitles. 105 min.
By Dave Kehr