An agonizing portrait of desperate Japanese soldiers stranded in a strange land during World War II, Kon Ichikawa’s Fires on the Plain is a compelling descent into psychological and physical oblivion, and one of the most powerful works from one of Japanese cinema’s most versatile filmmakers.
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Harrowing, powerful, disturbing, unpleasant, brutally honest, frank and very disturbing, this is a brilliant study of how war affects people. Some truly horrifying sequences are portrayed and the cinematography is stunning. A masterwork, one of the better war films ever made.
This film was unsettling for some reason. I watched this after 'The Burmese Harp' and such a contrast. One was quite soothing and inviting while this felt uncomfortable and exhausting in a way that didn't appeal to me.
Not sure if this is a war film or a zombie movie ? Jaw-dropping cinematography from Setsuo Kobayashi for this absurde and distressing classic. Maybe Beckettian would be a good adjective. Ichikawa gives no real rythm, no hero for sure, he breaks many rules to give a sincere, very unsatisfaying master piece. You almost physically want to watch somewhere else. There is nothing sexy about the war !
An incredibly disturbing portrait of Japanese soldiers during WWII. What makes it powerful is the bluntness with which Ichikawa presents the darkest secrets of soldiers living in fear and trying to just merely "survive". "Fires on the Plain" is a story of survival, of agony, and insanity. Definitely a must-see for any Japanese cinema fans. I plan to see "The Burmese Harp" soon to compare the two.
This is an intense and powerful film that showcases the true horrors of war, especially the end result that it can have on one's physical and mental health. The cinematography here is absolutely brilliant too.
I see and love a lot of horror movies. But this film will give me nightmares. Some individual scenes - the sick crawling out of a firebombed hospital; a procession of soldiers nonchalantly accepting enemy fire - frame a narrative meant to destroy the barriers between insects and humans, the dead and the living. This makes it not a traditional purgatory or hell, but something infinitely more frightening.