Friday, November 18, 2016

All That Remains (Ignatius Press)

Takashi Nagai was born in 1908. His birth was described as difficult and nearly killed both him and his mother. His family lineage was one of doctors as both his father and grandfather were doctors, with the former being trained in Western medicine and the latter practicing herbal medicine. His mother, on the other hand, was the descendant of a samurai family. Nagai was raised in the Confucius and Shinto religion and became interested in Christianity while attending school. When he was 20, his family hoped that he would go to school in Tokyo. He instead went to Nagasaki, and this decision forever changed his life. He became a physician who specialized in radiology and a convert to Roman Catholicism. He was also a survivor of the atomic bombing at Nagasaki, and is currently on the path to Catholic sainthood, being given the title Servant of God. The film All That Remains tells his story.

In this film, we live Nagai's journey. We see his childhood and his mother raising him to be strong. We see him meet his wife, Midori, who helps bring him to Catholicism. We also see Japan's government being taken control of and thus forcing Japan to enter World War II. Dr. Nagai, buries himself in his work, putting his health and family harmony in peril, but this quickly changes when the bomb takes the life of Midori. He now must raise his two children on his own, while battling leukemia. He also tries to help rebuild Nagasaki. This is done through his writings, which help inspire a nation and rebuild through the power of love. It is no wonder he is so highly revered in Japan.

The DVD is approximately two hours long. It contains live action acting, archival footage, and CGI. This creates for a unique viewing experience. Also included on the DVD is a documentary film on Dr. Nagai and an animated short film, entitled "The 26 Martyrs of Nagasaki." These make for fascinating viewing after viewing the initial film. I am grateful for getting the opportunity to review this film, as I'm not sure I would have ever learned about the remarkable Catholic man that Dr. Nagai was otherwise. It has also made me interested in reading the book A Song for Nagasaki to help fill in the holes that the film had. (Note: This is not a critical statement against the film. It's just the nature of the media, and that items have to be cut to make a reasonably timed movie.) If you are interested in World War II, Japan, and/or potential Catholic saints, you will want to watch this movie.

This DVD was provided to me for free by Ignatius Press in exchange for an honest review.