CHRONICLE – With “Onoda”, shot in Japanese, the young French director dazzles and sets a date.
He has modest triumph. A quality to add to the pedigree of Arthur Harari, whose film Onoda * (his second feature film) dazzled Cannes, where it was presented at the opening of a parallel selection of the festival which has never worn its name so well, Un certain regard. In his youthful forties, with a generous smile, giving the sincere impression of not understanding the magnitude of what he has just accomplished (a small masterpiece), the director hardly insists on the difficulties he has had to overcome to tell the incredible story of the last soldier in the Pacific War who did not surrender on an island in the Philippines until thirty years after the surrender of Japan. And yet he did it only because his mentor had ended up coming in person to ask him.
Unfamiliar with the things of war, ignorant of almost everything about Japanese civilization, he succeeded in writing and shooting a warrior film escaping clichés, and in directing Japanese actors to perfection.
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