The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (I) (1959)
- Summaries (3)
A Japanese pacifist, unable to face the dire consequences of conscientious objection, is transformed by his attempts to compromise with the demands of war-time Japan.
In the World War II, the pacifist and humanist Japanese Kaji accepts to travel with his wife Michiko to the tiny Manchurian village Loh Hu Liong to work as supervisor in an iron ore mine to avoid to be summoned to the military service. Kaji works with Okishima (Sô Yamamura) and he implements a better treatment to the laborers and improves the mine production. When the feared Kempetai (The "Military Police Corps", the military police arm of the Imperial Japanese Army from 1881 to 1945) brings six hundred Chinese POWs to the mine, Kaji negotiates with their leaders expecting them to control their comrades. However the methods of Kaji upset the corrupt system in the site, and the foreman Furuya (Kôji Mitsui) plots a scheme to use the naive Chen (Akira Ishihama) to turn off the electrical power of the barbwire fences to allow the prisoners to escape. When seven prisoners are falsely accused of an attempt of fleeing, a cruel Kempetai sergeant uses his sword to behead the prisoners. When Kaji protests, the POWs react sparing the lives of four prisoners but Kaji is arrested and tortured. When he is released, he is summoned to join the army and accused of being Red.
First of a trilogy of films. During the Second World War, a Japanese conscientious objector named Kaji works as a supervisor in a Manchurian prison camp. He hopes to avoid duty as a soldier, but he also hopes to be helpful to the welfare of his prisoners. An escape attempt by Chinese prisoners results in Kaji's arrest for collusion. He faces the possibility of transferral to combat--or worse.
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