Rising Sun

Rising Sun

Of the many fine films by Kinji Fukasaku to be released on DVD throughout 2004-05, Under the Flag of the Rising Sun is arguably the most unforgettable. As Japanese film scholar Tom Mes observes in an accompanying essay, it is also an important milestone in Fukasaku's prolific career, since it departs from the director's popular Yakuza films (most notably the epic Yakuza Papers series) while angrily exploring Fukasaku's dominant theme of post-World War II trauma and its anguished effect on Japanese society. Fukasaku claimed this was the film that crystallized his signature visual style, employing color, black and white, freeze-frames, negative images, documentary photographs, and shocking violence to tell the powerful story of a long-grieving widow in contemporary early 1970s Japan (Sachiko Hidari), still struggling to determine the truth behind her husband's court martial and execution on the New Guinea front during the final days of World War II. As she interviews surviving members of her husband's garrison in an effort to clear his name, a Rashomon-like tapestry of conflicting testimony unfolds to form a harrowing, collage of wartime atrocity, endurance, and survival by any means necessary. The cumulative impact of the widow's quest turns this into one of Fukasaku's most intensely focused dramas, leading to a devastating conclusion that qualifies Under the Flag of the Rising Sun as an unflinching classic, ripe for rediscovery as a searing indictment of war and its long-term emotional aftermath. As she did for The Yakuza Papers, Fukasaku expert and ace translator-subtitler Linda Hoaglund provides an insightful commentary that will greatly enhance anyone's appreciation for this and all of Fukasaku's films. --Jeff Shannon

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Director(s): Philip Kaufman
Production: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
  1 win & 1 nomination.
 
IMDB:
6.2
Metacritic:
56
Rotten Tomatoes:
34%
R
Year:
1993
130
1,590 Views

John Connor:
Have you negotiated with the Japanese?

Web Smith:
Negotiated?

John Connor:
Mm. Perhaps I can suggest the strategy.

Web Smith:
Well, this is hardly a negotiation.

John Connor:
Oh? What is it, then?

Web Smith:
What is it? It's a homicide.

John Connor:
When we arrive, you take charge of the negotiations. Don't introduce me or refer to me. Don't even look in my direction. Keep your jacket buttoned at all times. If they bow, you bow back.

Web Smith:
Believe it or not, I have done this before. You know, I do know these things.

John Connor:
Do keep your hands at your sides. The Japanese find big arm movements threatening. Keep your voice calm and even. You'll probably find them irritating tonight. But whatever happens, don't lose your temper.

Web Smith:
I don't lose my temper.

John Connor:
That's good to know. When you start to get into trouble...

Web Smith:
I won't get into trouble.

John Connor:
When you start to get into trouble, I will say, "Perhaps I can be of assistance?" From then on, I do the talking. You stand behind me. And don't appear distracted. We may come from a fragmented, MTV rap-video culture, but they do not. Every aspect of your appearance and behavior will reflect on you, the Department, and me as your sempai.

Web Smith:
My sempai?

John Connor:
Mm.

Web Smith:
That wouldn't be massa, would it?

John Connor:
No. The sempai is the senior man who guides the junior man, the kohai. In Japan, the sempai-kohai relationship is presumed to exist when the younger man and the older man work together. Hopefully, they will presume that of us.


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