France has its unknown soldier. Japan forgot its soldier at the end of the war. Hiro Onoda remained in hiding for thirty years with a handful of men in the jungle of an island in the Philippines. Tens of Thousand Nights, indicates the subtitle of the wonderful film that Arthur Harari dedicates to himself and which leaves this Wednesday. By the end of 1944, the mission of this Japanese officer was simple: to postpone the American landing on the island of Lubang, in the Philippines.
The Americans had not left, his mission could not end until the day his superior, Major Taniguchi, “came to rescue him”. No one has ever been so good that, for this intelligently trained man, any outward sign that World War II is over could only amount to a sharp fall. With only a handful of men, he put his guerrilla war in the jungle for almost thirty years …
Famous story in Japan but taboo
This incredible story is famous in Japan. What the young filmmaker Arthur Hariri, known for Black diamond, an excellent thriller in the diamond sector, is remarkable because it manages to create suspense, in the middle of thirty years waiting summed up in 2:45 on the screen, and distilling the images that are on the retina touch. Like the one who opens the film with this man in camouflage uniform wandering through the wind-painted corn. “I was looking for a subject for an adventure film and my father told me this story,” explains the filmmaker. 20 minutes, I documented myself, we wrote the script, we edited the production … And it was only once in Japan, in conversation with people from the cinema and with the actors I found to play the characters, that I understood how taboo the story of Onoda was. “
It must be said that for thirty years the forgotten soldier killed many people, even after the war, because he thought it was not over. And this man remained, long after his return to civilian life, a nostalgic militarist and a staunch nationalist. This is probably why no Japanese director has seized it yet. What Arthur Harari did with this anti-hero to make him so believable is all the more impressive becauseOnoda, presented at Cannes in the Un specific section, has already planned a release in Japan this fall.
Death of a Japanese soldier who had continued the war until 1974