The reconstruction of a single-handed voyage from Osaka to San Francisco … seems an unlikely choice for anything but a formal doumentary film. As one might expect, however, Ichikawa's Alone on the Pacific … makes a far richer meal of it than this. In his hands, the inevitable flashbacks to the early difficulties undergone on land by the would-be voyager, Horie, become as vital to the film's theme as is the struggle with the sea itself. The impersonal resistance of the Pacific, in fact, is shown to be a relatively manageable challenge….
Ichikawa is concerned here, as usual, with the fine distinction between individualism and self-centredness. Without belittling his hero's achievement, he...
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