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Biruma no Tategoto (1956)

Drama | 116 minutes
3,83 81 votes

Genre: Drama / War

Duration: 116 minuten

Alternative titles: The Burmese Harp / Biruma no Tatekoto / ビルマの竪琴

Country: Japan

Directed by: Kon Ichikawa

Stars: Rentaro Mikuni, Shōji Yasui and Jun Hamamura

IMDb score: 8,0 (6.486)

Releasedate: 21 January 1956


This movie is not available on US streaming services.


Biruma no Tategoto plot

During the last day of World War II, Japanese soldier Mizushima must convince a garrison in Burma to surrender. He fails, however, and when the British attack the entire garrison is killed. Mizushima himself barely escapes, but the experience results in trauma. He is taken in by a group of Buddhist monks.

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avatar van Sir Djuke

Sir Djuke

  • 343 messages
  • 958 votes

More than 11 years after the Second World War, Kon Ichikawa made this tranquil film in which a soldier first disguises himself as a monk, but then also commits himself to a spiritual assignment: burying the many, many corpses left behind on the battlefield. Beautiful music, beautiful images. A masterpiece.

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avatar van wibro


  • 11590 messages
  • 4098 votes

In response to a comment from John Milton about the movie Dunkirk, I wrote the following:

The point is and I've discovered that lately; I'm not in the mood for war movies at all anymore. Tried to watch a war film this morning but gave up after half an hour.

Well, this morning I got that movie - and that was this movie! - I watched it anyway and that's a good thing, because unlike Dunkirk, this film did touch me. Not so much because of the usually screaming Japanese soldiers, but mainly because of the powerful aura of the monk Mizushima, who had understood the message of Buddhism very well. The power of that message lies in its silence. "Truth cannot be taught" goes a Buddhist proverb. Images said more than enough, by the way, and I'm mainly talking about those visually beautifully rendered images of the numerous decayed corpses of the fallen Japanese soldiers that impressed me much more than the battle scene that we saw in the first half hour . I think this film is a very strong anti-war film. The end, the journey home of the Japanese soldiers across the river with the Burmese flat landscape in the background, a pagoda protruding above it, I found very beautiful.


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avatar van Film Pegasus

Film Pegasus (moderator films)

  • 30537 messages
  • 5228 votes

To a children's book, which perhaps can depict the heavy subject of the war so clearly (albeit profoundly). There is a lot of thematic about Buddhism, but it sounds heavier than it actually is. We mainly get a war film with a man who follows the orders of his regime, but finds peace in being a Buddhist to deal with the horror of war. Well told about the futility of war. The beginning is good, but gradually it drops a bit to end in beauty. A beautiful movie!

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original