Nobi – Fires on the Plain (1959)

Through a boot

I first came across Nobi – Fires on the Plain and its director, Kon Ichikawa, through the site Genkinahito.  To my knowledge, there’s no better blogger when it comes to contemporary Japanese cinema, and I can’t recommend his blog enough.  Curiously, I became interested in this film based on an article Genkinahito wrote about the remake of Nobi; but, hearing that it was a remake, I naturally opted to find and watch the original first.  The movie is a bleak representation of the hardships facing Japanese soldiers during their last days occupying the Philippines and the barbaric steps those individuals who were cut off from the main army took to survive.  Usually, I don’t like movies which are this gloomy, but this one has enough guts and human spirit to make it more than palatable–sort of like certain stories of Ernest Hemingway.

New Guinea

So, I heartily recommend it and will try to watch the remake and more films of Kon Ichikawa in the near future.  Tomorrow, my dear readers may look forward to that article on a biography of the Black Prince which I have promised.

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2 comments on “Nobi – Fires on the Plain (1959)

  1. Genki Jason says:

    Thanks for the shout out. I saw the remake a couple of months ago but haven’t reviewed it yet. It’s a brutal title which can be summed up as showing war as hell. The violence, futility, humiliation, and deprivations are troubling and disturbing but there were scenes of beauty. I also met the director/lead actor who was remarkably cool and thoughtful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d say that sums up the old movie also. Some films of this sort become so morbid that it casts man in a state of total depravity. However, Nobi well portrayed the darkness into which people can fall without removing the dignity of the human spirit.

      It’s very cool that you got to meet the director! Soon, I should watch the remake so that I can compare the two.

      Like

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