Wings of Defeat

Wings of Defeat Movie Poster

In late 1944, when Japan was facing certain defeat in World War II, the nation's military devised a final, desperate means to attack their enemies -- the kamikaze.

Named for a Japanese phrase meaning divine wind, the kamikazes were pilots who were ordered to crash into their targets, essentially turning their planes into missiles and ensuring that they would perish along with their craft.

The kamikazes defined a level of fanatical commitment to their cause that startled and frightened allied soldiers, and six decades later they remain a symbol of nationalism taken to its furthest and most terrible extreme.

However, not every pilot who was trained to be a kamikaze actually flew their fatal mission, and filmmaker Risa Morimoto interviews a few of the last surviving kamikazes in the documentary Wings Of Defeat.

Unearthing rare Japanese military propaganda and training material used to instruct potential kamikaze pilots, Wings Of Defeat also includes perspectives from military historians and the recollections of American servicemen who survived kamikaze attacks, as well as several Japanese pilots who for a variety of reasons escaped their brushes with death and now look back at the futility of the fatal strategy.

Wings of Defeat received its world premiere at the 2007 Hot Docs International Film Festival.

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