Summer Soldiers tells the stories of two AWOL American GIs, adrift in the inhospitable refuge of a Japan committed to supporting the U.S. “war effort”. Shunted to and fro among host families of anti-war sympathizers, both men seek some natural haven and an end to being fugitives. At first encouraged by what they see as acceptance and understanding from the people they meet, they soon realize that they are political pawns being used to gratify anti-war sentiments of radical groups, as well as, paradoxically, their anti-Americanism. The GIs discover that there is no real place for them in Japan, except as fringe dwellers. —Senses of Cinema
Hiroshi Teshigahara (勅使河原 宏, Teshigahara Hiroshi?, January 28, 1927 – April 14, 2001) was an avant-garde Japanese filmmaker.
He was born in Tokyo, son of Sofu Teshigahara, founder and grand master of the the Sogetsu School of ikebana. He graduated in 1950 from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and directed his first film, Pitfall (1962), in collaboration with author Kōbō Abe and musician Tōru Takemitsu. The film won the NHK New Director’s award, and throughout the 1960s, he continued to collaborate on films with Abe and Takemitsu while simultaneously pursuing his interest in ikebana and sculpture on a professional level.
In 1965, the Teshigahara/Abe film Woman in the Dunes (1964) was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. In 1972, he worked with Japanese researcher and translator John Nathan to make the movie Summer Soldiers, a film set during the Vietnam War about American deserters living on the fringe… read more
Even with a complete divergence from his usual style, Teshigahara makes a very interesting picture on a zero budget. He works non-pro actors just as fine as an Italian Neorealist, and I dare anyone to find a better anti-war film made under the same conditions.