Biruma no Tategoto
1956 / 116m - Japan
War, Drama
The Burmese Harp poster


November 17, 2021


Kon Ichikawa is one of the famed classic Japanese directors I haven't really explored yet. I've seen two of his post-2000 films, other than his oeuvre was still a blank for me. The Burmese Harp is one of his most popular films, so that seemed like a pretty good place to start. And indeed it was.

The story revolves around Mizushima, a soldier stationed in Burma near the end of WWII. He is sent up the mountain to convince a regiment to surrender itself. He fails his mission and the entire regiment is killed, Mizushima is the only survivor. A Buddhist monk finds him and decides to take care of him.

There's an ease to Ichikawa's films that is quite timeless. The pacing is deliberate, the soundtrack is soothing, the characters aren't too rowdy. The setting is also a big plus and adds plenty to the atmosphere. Could've been a tad shorter and the ending was a bit too overstated, other than that a worthy classic.