#102: The Burmese Harp

The Burmese Harp (1956) - Dir. Kon Ichikawa

Part of the Top 150 Films series

All art is empathy to a degree, but certain works are much more empathic and attuned to the thoughts and emotions than others of a similar nature. Case in point: The Burmese Harp. A compassionate, formidable anti-war film, The Burmese Harp was one of the first films to portray the decimating effects of World War II from the point of view of the Japanese army. While kept in a British prison camp after the Japanese surrender, one of the soldiers volunteers to help the British convince a hold-out Japanese platoon, who have barricaded themselves in a mountain, that the war is over and that they must surrender. Ichikawa outlines a post-war Myanmar and Japan with twin uncertain futures, with music signifying a universal connection, even after so much death and destruction. Elegiac moments are scattered throughout and make the film reverberate as a humbling lesson to us all.