The story of Hiroo Onoda, the Japanese soldier who surrendered in 1974 after three decades on an island in the Philippines, was not the most obvious material for French director Arthur Harari to base a film on. His previous work, including his 2016 revenge thriller “Dark Inclusion,” had no connection to Japan, still Harari made this holdout’s tale into his second feature, “Onoda: 10,000 Nights in the Jungle.”

“I didn't know (much about) Japan before getting interested in the story,” Harari says via video call. “But my passion for the subject was so strong (that I didn't) consider this a major problem. So, I used the strength of the story and my interest in the character as a way into the adventure of the film.”

After premiering in the Un Certain Regard section of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where it got mostly positive reviews, “Onoda” opened in France on July 21. It will be released here Oct. 8.