[ Directed by ]
[ Produced by ]
[ Cast ]
• OKADA Junichi MIYABE Kyuzo
• MIURA Haruma SAEKI Kentaro
• INOUE Mao Matsuno
[ Staff ]
• Original Story: HYAKUTA Naoki
• Screenplay: YAMAZAKI Takashi
• Screenplay: HAYASHI Tamio
• Music: SATO Naoki
• Theme Song: Southern All Stars
[ Production Company ]
TOHO, Amuse, Amuse Soft Entertainment, DENTSU, ROBOT, SHIROGUMI, Abe Shuji, Inc., J Storm, OHTA PUBLISHING, KODANSHA, Futabasha, Asahi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, KDDI, TOKYOFM, NIPPON SHUPPAN HANBAI, GYAO!, Chunichi Shimbun, Nishinippon Shimbun
[ Distributor (Japan) ]
[ Production Studio ]
Toho Pictures, Abe Shuji, Inc.
Release Date: December 21, 2013
Running Time: 144 min
Genre: Action/Adventure, Drama, Historical, Feature
Screening Format: DCP,HDCAM-SR
[ Story ]
Wartime drama based on TV writer Hyakuta Naoki’s debut novel. Delves into the tragedy of a Kamikaze pilot who died during World War II, as seen through the eyes of his presentday grandson. Directed by Yamazaki Takashi of
ALWAYS -Sunset on Third Street-
. Masterfully uses VFX to depict graphic aerial combat.
Kentaro (Miura Haruma), who is preparing for yet another shot at the bar exam, knows that his grandfather was a Kamikaze pilot named Miyabe Kyuzo (Okada Junichi). Kentaro profiles Kyuzo, a brilliant pilot who clung desperately to life and was called a coward.
[ Official Site ]
Surprising winner and with some American perplexity of the Golden Gelso at the last Far East Film of Udine and a box office champion at home. The film became part of the list of the ten most watched Japanese films of all the times. The Eternal Zero takes up the now classic structure of Quarto potere to narrate the existence of its protagonist, a pilot and flight instructor, Miyabe Kyūzo, who lived in the years of the Second World War.
Nowadays, his young nephew, who has already failed four times the challenging examination of access to the lawyer, decides to meet some former military elders who had known his grandfather to tell the story. From the diversity of the interpretations, someone considers it a “coward” or even the “shame of the Japanese army”, someone else, on the contrary, a true master of life an audiovisual mosaic is born that traces through a large series of flashbacks the life of Miyabe in parallel to that of the conflict. From Pearl Harbor to the Battle of the Midway, from the defeat of Rabaoul to the kamikaze attacks.
The Eternal Zero is not the first film dedicated to the tokkōtai, the suicide pilots of the Japanese aviation, nor certainly will be the last one. And as always, talking about kamikaze means creating quite a few controversies. To give them more focus is also the fact that the author of the novel from which the film is drawn, Hayakuta Naoki, now board member of the national television Nhk, has recently passed to the news for having denied the massacre of Nanjing and defended the ‘attack by Pearl Harbor on the principle that very few military conflicts of the twentieth century have opened with an official declaration of war. The film has thus divided the criticism between those who accuse him of ultraconversatore nationalism and those who have seized the humanistic and anti-war scope. In support of the thesis of the former there are two main aspects: the fact that Miyabe’s criticism of the army is often of a purely strategic and military nature (it does not rejoice after Pearl Harbor because no aircraft carrier was sunk, it is against the mission of Guadalcanal because too far from the base, criticizes the use of kamikaze because the vast majority of them ends up being hit and fall into the sea before having hit the target) and, above all, there is the ending of the film. Real? fictional? in which the same Miyabe points his plane, dodging all enemy shots, against an American aircraft carrier. On the side of those who supported the film, there is instead the fact that Miyabe refuses, repeatedly, insistently at least until the epilogue, to stake his life for the “good” of the nation, considering his duty as first that, after the conflict, return home alive to be able to look after your beloved wife and daughter. The ambiguity of the film is also not to solve its mystery, not to explain the reason why at the end of the conflict and the plot. Miyabe decides to deny himself and participate in a suicide attack (the possible interpretations are many but in their own way all possible).
Highlighted his ambiguities does not remain to add that The Eternal Zero is well built on the narrative level, at least as it is involving its protagonist both in pride and obstinacy with which it is opposed to the dominant values, both in the way it succeeds the same to be close to his family (even after deciding to die). Lastly, the scenes of the airstrikes carried out with the use of an excellent CGI, to which Yamazaki had already resorted to Always Sunset on Third Street (Always san – chome no yūhi, 2005) to recreate a sense of nostalgia not unlike that of The Eternal Zero, a popular neighborhood of Tokyo in the fifties.