Five Scouts (Gonin no sekkohei)

The first important Japanese war film, Five Scouts, made in 1938, set the pattern for a genre which differed from the wartime films of Russia, Britain or the U.S., as well as from the more militaristic Japanese propaganda films to come. It came closer to Milestone's All Quiet On The Western Front and Pabst's Westfront 1918, films of a pacifist era (1930) which were banned in Japan.

Shot in Manchuria on the scene of actual battles of Japan's war with China (a war which has been compared in many ways to America's war in Vietnam), Five Scouts is humanistic in outlook, depicting the soldier as a hapless pawn in a frightening game not his own.

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