It's the middle of WWII and Adrienne Partiger (Glenn Close), a well to do British woman is attending a gala with her husband at a fancy hotel. All of a sudden, an explosion is heard outside followed by a few soldiers who barge in telling everyone the Japanese are close, all soldiers return to duty and all women and children are to evacuate immediately. The women and children are put on a naval gun ship and sent away. But the Japanese bomb the ship forcing the women into the water. Three of the women become separated by the larger groups and wash ashore the island of Sumatra. They are picked up by a Japanese soldier and delivered to town only to be captured and join the rest of the survivors in a primitive camp. It is here they will spend the next almost three years of their lives, learning to deal with the very brutal conditions of the Japanese as women are lower on the totem pole than garbage. Their only sanity is when Adrienne teaches them to sing in a vocal orchestra. Also starring Margaret Drummond (Pauline Collins), a missionary, Jewish-German Dr. Verstak (Frances McDormand) an Australian nurse Susan McCarthy (Cate Blanchett) and Jennifer Ehle (Rosemary Leighton-Jones) a young bride who gives up the will to live when she sees her young husband captured by the Japanese. Colonel Hiroyo (Sab Shimono), Captain Tanaka (Stan Egi), and the Interpreter (David Chung), all play the Japanese soldiers in command.
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director: Bruce Beresford
Writer: Bruce Beresford
Producers: Sue Milliken, Gregory Coote