Towards the end of the war, one hundred middle-aged soldiers were sent to the frontline according to lots drawn by their superior officer. On the night of the lottery, a soldier, expecting to be killed in action, leaves a postcard from his wife with Keita Matsuyama. The card tells, “It is the festival today, but the air feels empty without your presence.” The soldier asks Keita to let his wife know that he had read the postcard. The war ends, and six survivors out of 100 return home, but no one awaits Keita at home. His wife has gone off with his father, not expecting Keita to return alive. Tomoko, who wrote the postcard, was persuaded to re-marry her husband’s younger brother, but he was also killed in the war. Her father-in-law has died of shock, and her mother-in-law has killed herself, leaving Tomoko alone in a poverty-stricken farmhouse. It is at this point Keita visits her with the postcard, and learns of her reality. –Moscow International Film Festival
Japanese filmmaker/scriptwriter Kaneto Shindo’s most famous directorial efforts include The Island (1960), a nearly silent, but powerful glimpse at a lonely farmer’s daily toil, and Children of Hiroshima (1952), a wrenching and sentimental account of the city’s post-bomb aftermath. Shindo was born in Hiroshima and got his start in films as an art director during the late ’30s. Less than a decade later, he wrote his first screenplays and went on to work with a number of Japanese directors, including Kenji Mizoguchi and Kon Ichikawa. In 1950, Shindo was a co-founder of a production company. He made his directorial debut in 1951 with The Story of a Beloved Wife.
He was married to actress Nobuko Otowa (1925–1994), who appeared in several of his films. He won the 1996 Japan Academy Prize for Director of the Year for A Last Note.— allmovie guide
A wonderful ending to a magnificent career where Shindo even references some of his own earlier works. Again this film is about the ''little people'' in society who have no choice but to survive, and are willing to sacrifice anything and break any morals they may have had in that process. Also praise to brilliant composer Hayashi Hikaru who gave us the haunting Naked Island theme and died this year as well.
Hiroshima is celebrating with a series of screenings and events running on into May.