• Golden Globe Awards

In Harm’s Way (Japan)

In Harm’s Way is a Japanese production filmed in English and Mandarin by a Dutch director (Bille August), written by an American (Greg Latte) with an American actor (Emile Hirsch) leading a Chinese and Japanese cast. It’s a curious oddity: before arriving at its current title, In Harm’s Way (like the 1965 Pearl Harbor movie by Otto Preminger with Kirk Douglas and John Wayne), this WWII film was released in Britain as The Hidden Soldier, and premiered at 2017’s Shanghai International  Film Festival as The Chinese Widow.The film is set after the attack on Pearl Harbor when a unit of the U.S. Air Force, returning from a daring bombing run over Tokyo, is forced to eject from their plane and parachute in Zhejiang Province, China. Its commander, Jack Turner (Hirsch), barely survives but gets rescued by Ying (Yifei “Crystal” Liu), a young Chinese widow who nurses him back to health and will stop at nothing to hide him from the Japanese military and shelter him from the atrocities committed during World War II. The two eventually develop a heart-wrenching relationship which transcends cultural and language barriers.97 minutes long, In Harm’s Way was a nominee Best Feature Film at the Shanghai Intl. Film Fest and was chosen as the closing night film of the Asian World Film Festival, where it was introduced by Emile Hirsch who talked at length about the joy and difficulties of shooting in China, where he spent several months. “I can’t stop thinking about that time in history, those weeks that literally changed the world,” says Bille August. “The U.S. entered the second World War and the plight in the Pacific started as well, with Americans, Japanese and Chinese people, military and civilians, involved in a harrowing and horrible situation.”August didn’t intend at all to remake Preminger’s film by the same title. “It’s a different story, though the Pearl Harbor incident is the same – and the subject of so many movies,” explained August. The title, In Harm’s Way, was decided by the U.S. distributors.