If anything else, I'm glad I saw this movie because I had never heard of it or its director, Yasuzo Masumura, before. It was a nice shock to be reminded that, even if I haven't seen every movie, there are some well-respected directors I still need to be educated on. This movie--set during the Sino-Japanese War that would eventually become part of World War II--is, suffice to say, extremely grim and mostly avoids any sentimentality or high emotions. There's a love story between our narrator, a nurse named Sakura and her superior, Dr. Okabe, but even that barely reaches into melodrama (until a climactic scene). The film has a very gritty, unforced, realistic feel, but I admit that it feeling so realistic and eschewing melodrama meant I never got extremely engaged with the story. I think the strongest aspect of the movie is, though, that feel. Not every war drama needs to overload on sap, and this one being straightforward felt like the right way to go. Very, very grim, dark (often literally), but I'm glad I saw it.