Under the Blood Red Sun Review
by Fay DeMeyer
Some events are easier to promote than others. As a radio talk show host (The FayDay Show 1430KYKN) for the past two years it has been my pleasure to promote many worthy causes, films, plays, transitional housing for people leaving prison, medical clinics like Dove and Hope that love men and women who are struggling with hard choices, politics and current events. The FayDay Show has promoted people who have overcome addictions of all kinds, child abductions, human trafficking and much more.
And on October 10th I was privileged to preview a film, “Under the Blood Red Sun.” Based on a true story written by Graham Salisbury; Graham (Sandy) wrote the screenplay as well and was present at the preview, as were Tim and Mardi Savage assistant producer and director of “Under the Blood Red Sun” a film produced by Dana Hankins. I found the viewing of this film entertaining, engaging and enlightening. For example, many films have been attempted that chronical the events of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but to date none have come from the perspective of a 12 year old Japanese-American living in the Territory of Hawaii on December 7, 1941.
Under the Blood Red Sun captures the heart of America, its acceptance of cultures and its struggle to continue that heart when tragedy strikes such as the day the Japanese Air force struck ships docked in Oahu, Hawaii. Most would agree that the war was declared by the Japanese; few would argue that America had to respond; yet, our response though rapid, sure and concise left many American-Japanese families disillusioned by both Japan and the United States of America. For this you see our response needed to be asking the question: “Who is the enemy?”
Under the Blood Red Sun, put a spotlight on this dichotomy that ripped families, neighbors and countries apart. The internment camps unlike other films were not the focus of this film. The focus is the impact on the people you come to care about like Billy, the Caucasian boy who refused to buy the lie that the Japanese he knew were enemies, the Japanese boy who held to his loyalty as an American regardless of family heritage and the grandfather who struggled with being humiliated by his own country which he so proudly championed his entire life.
This film brings family entertainment back to the screen; offering dinner table, car travel, and activity talk opportunities for parents and youth to grapple with substance. For example: what is the response that we as Americans ought to have toward our current “enemy” the Middle Easterners referred to as ‘ISIS’? In the same way the characters are impacted with torn loyalties so also are many Middle Eastern peoples loyal to the USA, while desiring to hold to traditions and symbols of the culture they know. This same statement could be made about the current Russian citizens who fled a country riddled with poverty and oppression to the USA where food is plentiful and freedom still abounds. With Putin on the march to gain territory it could be perceived this population is our enemy.
If you haven’t seen Under the Blood Red Sun, you are missing a diamond with its multifaceted themes (e.g., bullying, torn loyalties, family pride, obedience, courage, integrity, perseverance and love) and its ingratiating characters. I firmly believe you will be won over by Tomi, Billy, Grandpa and Tomi’s Mom. You will remark at the courageousness of Mrs. Wilson and the turnaround of Keet, who plays a bully.
In addition to enjoying the film, the subsequent interview with Graham and Tim was delightful. The Podcast of this interview and comments can be found on http://www.1430kykn.com click podcast, then the FayDay show on 10. 11.14. Look for more family friendly entertainment in both books and movies in the future. Graham is a bestselling author of 19 books. He writes for children 4th grade and up. To purchase the film you can log onto:www.underthebloodredsun.com.
Further, New Hope Christian College drew this talent to its campus and made this movie available to its students. Another feature of the film is that all actors except one were residents of Hawaii. One of the features of New Hope Christian College is that it has many Japanese, American and Hawaiians in its student body, so this film was a huge hit.
What was revealed in the radio interview was the incredible effort made by many in Hawaii to make this movie as realistic as possible. The remarkable detail toward the period of 1941 was amazing. For me, as a journalist, psychologist and educator I was so pleased to be part of this venture.