The Ants

    2 May 2006, late at night

The Ants was a very impressive film. The audience watches as Mr. Okumura, a former Japanese soldier, tries to expose the fact that the Japanese government ordered some of their soldiers to remain in China after they had surrendered to the US; these soldiers were to continue to fight the Communists and keep Japanese imperialism alive. The rest of Japan believes these soldiers volunteered to stay behind. Now 80 odd years old, Mr. Okumura and other veterans fight to have the record set straight on this matter. More than this, Mr. Okumura wants to truly understand the war, everything about it. He feels he only saw a small part of the ugliness that was Japan’s invasion of China. He travels to China to get answers to everything that is troubling him. The movie is at times very moving, and at times very intense. Mr. Okumura discusses quite frankly the things he did during WWII, and the things he knew other soldiers did during the war. He meets Chinese soldiers in his travels through China and talks to them about the war and its effects on them. Mr. Okumura meets a Chinese lady, a grandmother now, who was gang-raped by 7 Japanese soldiers during the war. The interaction between this old soldier, and the people he would have known under the most horrid of circumstances 60 years ago is truly amazing. The friendly rapport he has with the Chinese people he meets in the film is remarkable. I suppose it is true that time heals all wounds. I suppose his strong sense of shame and regret plays a strong part in how people react to him. His drive at 80 years old is what really gets you though; he refuses to let the setbacks he and the other veterans face stop him. He is a very strong and committed man. The last dialog in the movie between him and the cameraman is excellent. The Ants is well worth watching.

 

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