the Louis-Delluc prize for the sublime “Onoda” by Arthur Hariri – Liberation

Onoda, a fresco dedicated to a Japanese soldier who wanted neither peace nor death, who continued to fight thirty years after the Second World War, was awarded the prestigious Louis-Delluc Prize.

During the Cannes Film Festival, this story of a Japanese soldier, wanting neither peace nor death, had deeply moved critics. The film Onoda, 10,000 nights in the jungle, by French director Arthur Harari, won the Louis-Delluc prize on Wednesday, announced its president Gilles Jacob. Release had particularly liked this humanist fresco, telling the life of the man who did not want to die: “Simple idea and fixed idea, which gives the most beautiful biopics”. “Old French cinema, you don’t deserve it: Arthur Harari is today the best of you, his Onoda a magnificent film”, we wrote from the area around the Croisette.

The Louis Delluc Prize, which last year crowned documentary maker Sébastien Lifshitz for Teenagers, is one of the most prestigious of French cinema. Composed of around twenty critics and personalities, under the chairmanship of the former president of the Cannes Film Festival, the jury also awarded, in the First film category, Towards the Battle, by Aurélien Vernhes-Lermusiaux.

“Amazing movie”

In his film, shot entirely in Japanese, in Cambodia Arthur Harari, born in 1989, paints in nearly three hours the portrait of Hiro Onoda, a Japanese soldier who, by going into exile for nearly thirty years in the jungle in the Philippines, refused the Japanese surrender of 1945. “This is a stunning film that brings together exceptional qualities in creation, manufacture or production. The subject is itself astounding with this soldier who does not understand that the war is over ”, underlined Gilles Jacob, in the lounge of the Fouquet’s hotel, where the deliberations took place. It is the director’s second feature film after Black Diamond, released in 2016.

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“The staging, for a second film, is dazzling, with a mastery of cinema that is quite rare. […] It’s a film about loneliness and fear that is felt […] with sweat, skin and tears. The winner was chosen almost unanimously, which is not frequent ”, added the president of the award.

Hero or anti-hero? The film does not stand out, even if it is precisely this ambivalence that seduced the director. “I couldn’t decide on his courage or his lack of courage. I think he is as much a coward as he is a brave man. That’s what interested me in this story, it’s the contradictory dimension ”, he explained in Cannes. Released last summer, in the midst of a health crisis, Onoda only made 45,512 theatrical entries. His draft by the Louis-Delluc prize is a great consolation prize. The jury also wanted a new theatrical release to be organized.


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