Watch Paradise Road

Glenn Close, Cate Blanchett, Frances McDormand, and Clyde Kusatsu star in a film based on the experiences of women interned in camps by the Japanese in World War II. Several British, Australian, American, and Dutch women are packed into prison camps by the Japanese in Indonesia after the Japanese invade Singapore. The women overcome an initial dislike of each other and try to maintain morale as conditions in the camp deteriorate, more women die, and there is little to no word of the fate of their husbands. Part of their strategy includes forming a chorus to help them focus on something that does not include death and disease.

While the story itself is fictionalized, it is based on memoirs and historical records. Women were separated from their husbands and other family members -- although children often remained with their mothers -- and interned in camps after being marched through the jungle. Many died, and many were left scarred emotionally and physically. Paradise Road attempts to show how women were able to survive such conditions by helping each other. The music sung by the cast includes actual music written by an internee at the camp on which Paradise Road is based; this woman, Margaret Dryburgh, had been a vital link in the chain of activities that gave her and her fellow internees a sense of hope.

The film received some criticism for its deletion of massacres that occurred when many of the women were taken captive, though at least one paper noted that including such violence would have given the film a much darker tone than the producers and director wanted. Others tried to claim the film was racist and prejudiced against Japanese people, but survivors of real-life internment camps quickly dispelled that notion. Paradise Road is a dramatic retelling of the story of women placed in extremely dangerous circumstances, where escape seemed an impossible dream, and how they managed to keep going each day.

R
| 1997 | 2 hr 2 min | 6.8/10 | 48/100
Cast
Glenn Close, Frances McDormand, Pauline Collins, Cate Blanchett
Director
Bruce Beresford
Produced By
Sue Milliken
Language
French
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Paradise Road (1997) Trailer|2:27
Paradise Road|2:26

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