Without rhythm or forward drive. Too much of its power (and surely acclaim) hinges on its last task of survival. The main character is also not only passive and lacks agency far into its runtime, but seldom internalizes or emotes outwardly about his grim situations and harsh orders. The passiveness means a large lack of dramatic and emotional pull in its narrative. Some good ideas/images... but only apathetically.
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 !
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.
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.
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.