By Masanobu DEME

TOEI COMPANY, LTD. - as SALES All rights, World

Drama - Completed 2006

Epic film about friendship between Geraman Prisoner-of-War and the Japanese camp officer during WWI.

    • Year of production
    • 2006
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • JAPAN
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 3 - 5 M$
    • Duration
    • 135 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Masanobu DEME
    • Synopsis
    • A miracle that happened during the two years and ten months the “Musterlager (model POW camp)” existed.
      In 1914, during the First World War, the Imperial Army of Japan dispatched a massive army of 30,000 soldiers and occupied Qingdao in China, the eastern-most army base of the Germans. German soldiers totaling to 4,700 who lost in this battle were sent to Japan as POW and undergo two harsh years in an atrocious environment at the camps in Kurume.

      In 1917, the prisoners cross the water with whirling waves and get transferred to the Bando POW Camp in Naruto City, Tokushima Prefecture while thinking, “What kind of hell awaits us at this land called ‘Bando’…” However, the officers at the Bando POW Camp were treating the prisoners generously under the instructions of Director Toyohisa Matsue who aspired for conciliation and unity between the local residents and the prisoners. The prisoners gradually start opening their closed up hearts to the surroundings as they are moved by the kindness extended by the camp officers and local residents. The prisoners discover joy in their lives during their daily practice at the camp being permitted to bake breads, print newspapers, play instruments, and even drink beer. This camp indeed was a “land of paradise” for the prisoners.

      In November 1918, the First World War comes to an end with the signing of the Armistice Treaty. With their homeland now a defeated country, the Germans lose their spirit…
      In shock, Major-General Heinrich who served as an emotional support to the prisoners attempts a suicide with a gun. However, Heinrich is saved by a Japanese soldier. Matsue pleads Heinrich who barely escaped death, “The prisoners are proud of you. Please live and serve as their emotional support.”

      The Germans now set free to return home performs the “Ode of Joy” from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony to express their immeasurable amount of appreciation to Director Matsue and the local residents. They become the first people to perform this piece in Japan. The storm of joyful voices and applauses to this miraculously beautiful piece on celebration of humanity rings the boundless sky of Bando as if it will even reach their home country…