Directed by Shohei Imamura • Documentary • 1971 • 45 minutes
In Malaysia, Imamura follows one false lead after another as he tries to locate unreturned Japanese who had given up the culture of their birth to integrate with Malaysian society. These wrong turns take the filmmaker on a tour through the complexities of post-war Malaysia, and allow him the time to air his outrage with the Japanese military's conduct in Southeast Asia, focusing particularly on the 1942 Sook Ching massacre.
The director eventually tracks down A-Kim, a former soldier who has converted to Islam and lives in a Malaysian community. In conversation with Imamura, Kim describes the unlikely peace he has made with his country of birth.
"The most shocking of [Imamura's documentaries], IN SEARCH OF THE UNRETURNED SOLDIERS IN THAILAND, climaxes with the director getting three of the title subjects drunk so that they'll speak casually about atrocities they committed during World War II."—Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader