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Many people say that they are loyal and would lay down their life, for one thing, one person, or another. Some would do the aforementioned for their families, pets, friends, countries, and even their favorite band. However, we’re not sure anyone would be as dedicated and unwavering to their own personal causes as Hiroo Onoda was to his.
Hiroo Onoda was an Imperial Japanese Army intelligence officer during World War II. In 1944 he was sent to the island of Lubang to spy on U.S. forces. Later in the war, the Allied forces defeated the Japanese Imperial Army, but Lieutenant Onoda and a handful of others evaded capture and, while not believing the war had ended, survived in the Philippine Jungle for 29 years. While this is a true story, Director Arthur Harari surprisingly hadn’t read Onoda’s book “No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War,” which makes one wonder if “Onoda – 10,000 Nights in the Jungle” is based in reality. Spoiler alert: it is.
The film, which sits at two hours and 45 minutes, is appropriately paced and shot. As stated in our review, Harari and his cinematographer (and brother), Tom Harari, handle “the passage of time fluidly, enfolding the passage of years into cuts on natural rhythms and repetitive tasks, with only one major forward jump in chronology. Minutes and years accumulate, the grass grows over graves, the land forgets, and Onoda remembers. The film documents his years within a historical ellipsis and pays off with a feeling of real momentousness as Onoda at last flies away from the only life he’s ever really known.”
Ahead of the film playing at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, Harari answered that very question. He stated, “my obsession, and one that I share with my brother, Tom, the film’s cinematographer, is about capturing something real. The film had to be about experiencing reality.” He went on to say, “We were guided by an equilibrium between classical harmony and a direct, immersive aspect in order to create a particular experience of time and space.”
“Onoda – 10,000 Nights in the Jungle” stars Yûya Endô, Kanji Tsuda, Yûya Matsuura, Tetsuya Chiba, and Shinsuke Kato. Dark Star Pictures will release the film on VOD on December 13, 2022.
The official synopsis: It’s the end of 1944. Japan is losing the war. By order of the mysterious Major Taniguchi, young Hiroo Onoda is sent to an island in the Philippines just before the American landing. The handful of soldiers that he takes with him into the jungle will soon discover the unknown doctrine that will bind them to this man: Secret War. For the Empire, the war is about to end. For Onoda, it will end 10 000 nights later.