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Japanese director Masaki Kobayashi adapts Junpei Gomikawa's epic six-volume novel to produce a trilogy of films that follows the World War II journey of naive pacifist Kaji (Tatsuya Nakadai) from prison camp supervisor to combat soldier to Soviet POW. Staggering in its scope, Kobayashi's achievement -- which skillfully blends searing social indictment with deeply felt human drama -- stands as a landmark of Japanese cinema.