Empire of the Sun
- 2 hr 34 min
Empire of the Sun is a movie that is based on an autobiographical novel by J.G. Ballard. The plot revolves around the life of James Graham, who comes from a privileged background. James's life is turned upside down at the start of World War II after the Japanese invasion of British controlled Shanghai in December 1941. The resulting upheaval causes James to be separated from his parents. Subsequently, James ends up living on the streets where he has to fight for the food he needs to sustain himself. It is on these Shanghai streets where, at some point, he is renamed Jim. He is captured by Japanese army soldiers who will eventually transport him to Soochow Creek internment camp, a confinement camp reserved for prisoners of war. Prior to being transported to the camp, Jim, along with Basie, a fellow prisoner who he met on the streets of Shanghai, is temporarily interned at a holding center for foreign captives. While at the holding center, Jim soon discovers that he has to adapt the same behaviors exhibited by the other children there. He learns that he has to engage in blatant thievery in order to survive. In the midst of all the food shortages and sickness in the internment camp, James valiantly strives to put his former life back together. He does this with a display of dignity and spirit that inspires those around him. While confined to the internment camp, he develops an admiration for both the American pilots, who are also being held captive, as well as for the Japanese themselves. He etches out a fairly active livelihood by involving himself in the trade network that exists among British prisoners at the camp. The story goes on to explore Jim's relationships while at the camp. After the war ends, he embarks on an attempt to locate his parents. This epic film explores the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. It is beautifully photographed and is accompanied by a score that is subtle yet moving.