Shinku Chitai (1952)

Genres - Drama  |   Run Time - 129 min.  |   Countries - Japan  |  
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A fiercely independent thinker, director Satsuo Yamamoto's films questioned many of Japan's closely held postwar beliefs. Vacuum Zone is no exception. Just before the end of the war, Japanese soldier Kitani is released from prison, having served his term for theft. Told in flashback, viewers learn about Kitani's past and reasons behind his prison sentence. In love with a beautiful geisha, Kitani finds a wallet on the street and takes the money, thinking he will buy her freedom. The owner of the wallet turns out to be an officer in Kitani's company and he is brought to trial. During the proceedings, Kitani's letters and diaries are subpoenaed and the court judges them to be a betrayal of military confidence and treasonous in sentiment. It seems then that Kitani is a prisoner of conscience. Back in the present, Kitani unluckily uncovers a corruption scandal in his unit. Unfortunately for him, his superiors discover his suspicions and have him transferred to the front. Knowing his transfer means certain death, Kitani ascertains that once again he is a victim of the military's abuse of power, but it is too late as he is already bound for China.