At the end of World War II, over half a million Japanese servicemen stranded overseas were shipped off to labor camps in the Soviet Union. Some of them wouldn’t make it back to Japan until 1956; many didn’t get that far.

Among the captives was a bespectacled linguist named Hatao Yamamoto, whose story is given a slick and sentimental treatment in Takahisa Zeze’s “Fragments of the Last Will,” based on a 1989 nonfiction book by Jun Henmi.

As played by the ebullient Kazunari Ninomiya, he’s a saintly figure with a heart big enough to warm even the frigid wastes of Siberia.