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Japan, 2005 (MIFF 2006, Documentaries)

Director: Kaoru Ikeya


The Ants won an humanitarian award for Outstanding Documentary at this year's Hong Kong Film Festival.

Waich Okumura is an 80 year-old Japanese man who fought in China's civil war after World War II. The question still remains unanswered: Why did the Japanese join the Chinese conflict between communist and nationalist forces? He has another secret - the ruthless murder of an innocent Chinese under the ruse of ‘recruit training'. In this film, Okumura returns to China where he unravels the mystery of lost soldiers and the shuddering memory of his first killing. During his journey, he meets an old Chinese lady who was kidnapped, raped and confined by Japanese soldiers. From her, he hears a story of human evils - and even forgiveness.

All the more powerful due to Kaoru Ikeya's matter-of-fact and unobtrusive directing style, The Ants shows how, like the worker ants serving their queen, these men sacrificed more than their lives for the Emperor but, when no longer needed, were contemptuously crushed under foot.

D Kaoru Ikeya P Yoko Kwon WS Ren Universe Inc L Japanese, Mandarin, Shanxi w/English Subtitles TD 35mm/2005/101mins

Kaoru Ikeya was born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1958. His films include Yan'an: Yellow Soil and the New Reality (1994, doco) and Daughter from Yan'an (2001, doco)

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