New film about Onoda opens at Cannes Un Certain Regard

Cannes 2021: Onoda film opens Un Certain Regard

image taken from the film Onoda (director Arthur Harari)

This week, a 3 hour long feature film about Hiroo Onoda screened at Cannes. As a filmmaker who has been working on a documentary about Onoda for almost 12 years now, I knew that eventually a biopic or dramatised film of his bizarre thirty year war would eventually be made. And what a fitting time for it to be released – at a time when post pandemic conspiracies sprout and mutate into the mainstream, and climate deniers who refuse to follow evidence, Onoda’s self delusions might resonate today more than ever before.

Ben Kenigsberg notes, at PandemiCannes, where “Onoda” opened the Un Certain Regard section, and where elite audiences reportedly continue to carry on as if things were normal by flouting mask rules, this portrait of a man who chose to shut out the outside world had an eerie resonance.


My greatest concern now is not that this Onoda film plays on his self delusion, but in doing so fails to highlight the costs of his warped realities, and that ultimately people of Lubang Island paid with their lives.


If you’d like to see the documentary about Hiroo Onoda and his thirty year on Lubang Island, help us get it finished and distributed by making a tax deductible donation today. 




5 Replies to “New film about Onoda opens at Cannes Un Certain Regard”

  1. This true side of history needs to be published to the world. Getting the true side of a story is important, not only for the people who suffered but to the history of Japan. It does not matter if it is 200 years later, the truth needs to be told and it should not matter if it upsets people. The truth hurts.

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