Harp of Burma (1956)

Rated NR 116 minutes

Set against the final days of World War II, The Burmese Harp portrays the experiences of a group of exhausted, war-scarred Japanese soldiers as they prepare to return to Japan. The film focuses on Shoji Yasui, a soldier known to his comrades for his harp playing, who fails to convince a resistant company to surrender and is presumed dead when a battle destroys their hillside encampment. To rejoin his fellow soldiers, Shoji steals the robes of a Buddhist monk and begins to make his way across the countryside. But along the way, he becomes fixated on the hundreds of abandoned, unburied war casualties and begins to assume the duties of his costume and tend to the bodies. Meanwhile, Shoji's friends mount a search for him, eventually noticing the monk to whom he bears an uncanny resemblance. Director Kon Ichikawa's film was adapted by frequent collaborator (and wife) Nato Wada) from a book by Michio Takeyama designed to introduce children to the fundamental principles of Buddhism. ~ Keith Phipps, All Movie Guide

Film Credits

Director: Kon Ichikawa

Writer: Natto Wada

Producer: Masayuki Takaki

Cast: Rentaro Mikuni, Shôji Yasui, Takeo Naito, Jun Hamamura and Akira Nishimura

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