This exquisite film condenses the trauma of Japanese surrender to one soldier's hallucinatory journey across the sublime, body-strewn Burmese landscape - a spectacle that both necessitates a spiritual response, and brutally exceeds it. Hence Mizushimi's (Yoshi Hazui) commitment to embodying the pratyekabuddha - the solitary, self-taught, unheralded Buddha that arises at times of spiritual crisis - and simultaneous inability to let the bodies of his countrymen manifest their inherent impermanence, committing his life to the collective fantasy of providing each soldier with a proper burial and resting-place. This transforms Buddhism into the mere starting-point for an ecumenicism sufficiently radical to prevent future wars, encapsulated in the singing and harp playing that pervade the narrative - or their surrogates, the omnilingual parrots - and finding its most rousing image in the armistice's transformation of an approaching army into a supplementary chorus. It feels as if every character is on the verge of being subsumed into some as yet unrealised collectivity; or, alternatively, into their own silhouette, as Ichikawa and cinematographer Minoro Yokoyama suffuse the Burmese jungle with a dazzle of light and shadow that ultimately feels extrapolated from the stream in which the monks bathe, as if the breath of God were rendered visible. It also gestures towards a brilliant, revelatory whiteness that, obliterating all personal distinctions, constitutes the elusive destination of Ichikawa's haunting pans and tracking shots, and encompasses the flag of surrender, the conflation of sand, river and sky that concludes Mizushimi's visionary passage, the predominance of scenes shot by moonlight, and the box of ashes that identifies Mizushimi to his comrades.