I’ve been slightly obsessed with a mysterious young woman who is in a Japanese newsreel that I’ve been using in the film. You can see the whole newsreel here on youtube if you ever want to feel the full tragedy of Japan’s involvement in the war. That’s Hirohito’s famous surrender speech in the background. But I’m talking just about a small part that starts at 00:50. Don’t blink – she’s at the very start where the section fades in.
A train is pulling out of the station. It’s inferred that soldiers are being transported to the front line. Everyone smiles and waves excitedly, except for one young woman. She just stands there with her arm raised, completely still. She looks like she’s holding it all in, like her whole world is ending. Who was she saying goodbye to? Her brother, father, boyfriend? She looks all of sixteen or twenty years old. Her hair looks fashionably done. She looks like she’s wearing lipstick. Is that a school uniform? Is she wearing a necklace or a rope or is that just some kind of odd piping on her dress? Here she is again, with the newsreel slowed down at 60%, then 30% and finally 10%.
Just a small glimpse of a girl on a train station somewhere in Japan 70 years ago. I wonder who she was.