Persona non grata

Directed by Cellin Gluck

The Japanese drama Persona non grata directed by Cellin Gluck is known in Poland under the title Ambasador nadziei. Chełmno was used to portray the Prussian city of Konigsberg from the pre-war era. Individual shots in the film show a number of streets in the city, namely Klasztorna, Franciszkańska, and Dominikańska.

The film is a true story about Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who served as vice-consul in Kaunas, Lithuania, saving approximately 10,000 Jews, during the Second World War. The film was directed by Cellin Gluck, a famous filmmaker, who previously worked on set of Hollywood-made blockbusters, such as Godzilla or Transformers.

The film spans the period from 1934 to 1955 and takes us to Europe, North America, and Asia. During the Soviet occupation of Lithuania, Chiune Sugihara, often called “Japan’s Schindler”, issued illegal Japanese visas, which made it possible to escape to the Caribbean, which was a way of saving Jews from Lithuania and Poland. The diplomat risked not only his career, but also his life and the lives of his family. Chiune Sugihara was recognised as Righteous Among the Nations, which is the highest civic distinction granted by the State of Israel.

The main character is played by Japanese actor Toshiaki Karasawa, while the wife of Chiune Sugihara is portrayed by Koyuki Katō, an actress known for her role in The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise. The film features a number of Polish actors. Borys Szyc played an officer of the Polish intelligence service, who worked with Chiune Sugihara, while Agnieszka Grochowska was cast for the role of Irina, a Russian, and the first love of Sugihara. In the film production, you can also see Zbigniew Zamachowski, Anna Grycewicz, Maciej Zakościelny, Michał Żurawski, and Cezary Łukaszewicz.


  • The film has its première on 13th October 2015, in Kaunas.
  • The Japanese première took place on 5th December 2015 and as many as 118,000 people came to see the film in the two days following its release.
  • In Poland, the film was screened for the first time during the opening of the 14th edition of the WJFF – Warsaw Jewish Film Festival, on 21st November 2016.
  • It took 41 days to shoot the film.
  • The film was shot entirely in Poland. Chełmno was used to portray the Prussian city of Konigsberg during the pre-war era. Some of the scenes in the film were also shot in Warsaw, Łódź, Gdańsk, Gdynia, and in the region of Lower Silesia.

Information on the film

Persona non grata

Poland 2015, 139′

Directed by: Cellin Gluck

Screenplay: Hiromichi Matsuo, Tetsurô Kamata

Music: Naoki Satō

Cinematography: Garry Waller

Producer Akson Studio

Produced by: Nobuyuki Linuma, Jan Kwieciński, Inga Kruk, Seiji Okuda, Satoko Tsuji

Cast: Toshiaki Karasawa, Koyuki Katō, Agnieszka Grochowska, Borys Szyc, Zbigniew Zamachowski, Michał Żurawski, Anna Grycewicz, Maciej Zakościelny