Nobi (Fires on the Plain)
Nobi (Fires on the Plain)Original Title: Nobi
Director: Shinya Tsukamoto
Japan | Japanese
Subtitles: Arabic, English
The director of Japanese cult hits Tetsuo: Iron Man and Gemini reboots Shohei Ooka’s famed antiwar novel Fires on the Plain—and Kon Ichikawa’s classic 1959 film adaptation—in this hallucinatory tale of war and horror, set in the Philippines during WWII.
In the last days of the Pacific war, the Japanese are losing ground to the Allies, and lowly foot soldier Tamura (Tsukamoto, who also stars) merely wants to survive. As madness slowly descends all around him, and as his tuberculosis grows worse, Tamura becomes separated from his unit and seemingly from all reality. Wandering through a jungle realm that could become his grave, he sees both death and life, the chilling brutality of humanity merged with the quiet beauty of nature. Tsukamoto ramps up the chilled grimness of Ichikawa’s version, turning “the horror of war' into a true horror film of blistering, frantic proportions.
This antiwar epic is as refreshingly impolite and deranged as any of Tsukamoto’s works, with a Sam Fuller-like ability to strip away the war film’s usual romanticism and heroism and plunge the viewer directly into the delirious abyss. “I don’t believe in propaganda movies,' the director writes. “I can sense the horror and screams of those who died in the jungle . . . and I injected those sensations into every frame. If you smelled any of that, I succeeded.'