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At the close of World War II, a Japanese army regiment in Burma surrenders to the British. Private Mizushima is sent on a lone mission to persuade a trapped Japanese battalion to surrender also. When the outcome is a failure, he disguises himself in the robes of a Buddhist monk in hope of temporary anonymity as he journeys across the landscape – but he underestimates the power of his assumed role.
A visually extraordinary and deeply moving vision of horror, necessity, and redemption in the aftermath of war, Ichikawa's breakthrough film is one of the great humanitarian affirmations of the cinema.