Ambitious, multi-generational flagwaver with moments to rival the gorgeous visual fluency of Mizoguchi (the highest compliment I can pay any film). The final parade scene is a masterpiece of cinema. 3.5*
A highly understated look at three generations of a family as they vow their loyalty to the Japanese army. Kinoshita, like many early Japanese directors, is likely not to get same recognition internationally as he does at home. As my first and only exposure to his work, I recommended not knowing anything about it and especially don't go to its Wikipedia page. It's not earth shattering but it will leave a mark.
No more egregious than some of the flag wavers of England and America during the war, Shochiku's high profile propaganda piece is earnest and moving, especially in the stern face of Chishu Ryu and the sad, forgiving face of Kinuyo Tanaka, but in light of what was happening to the Japanese people, and worse to come, it's hard to watch. Kinoshita, already sensitive, directs for patriotism and pathos.