It begins with a slapped face. A Japanese soldier is being yelled at by his sergeant for having dared to return from the hospital. Tamura (Eiji Funakoshi), a private with a serious case of tuberculosis, is in a stage of death that Kubler Ross somehow neglected to chart: the stage where the idea of dying is starting to seem a little funny. His superior quickly lays out the land. Rations are short, and Tamura has already wasted his own food by returning from the hospital when he should have been staying. His fellow soldiers are digging trenches with sticks and pans, because there are no shovels. Manpower is so short they've given up trying to meet the enemy. At this point, Tamura starts to weave a little in delirium, or so we can guess because the sergeant's mouth widens to fill the whole screen. Finally, he sends the private off with one last order: commit suicide if he can't be of aid to the Army. "Use your hand-grenade. It will be your last duty."

categories Cinematical