Tag Archives: Hideko Takamine

Keisuke Kinoshita – Karumen kokyo ni kaeru AKA Carmen Comes Home [+extras] (1951)

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A light-heartedly humorous take on post-war female emancipation, Carmen Comes Home is a fairly typical offering from Shochiku, a studio renowned at the time for its conservative output specialising predominantly in comedies and domestic dramas based firmly within the framework of the traditional Japanese family structure. Produced at a time when the company’s fortunes were still riding high, to celebrate their 30th anniversary studio head Shiro Kido (himself the subject of a retrospective at the Nederlands Filmmuseum in 1994) allowed director Keisuke Kinoshita to direct this light and breezy comedy drama in Fujicolor, and thus Japan’s first ever colour motion picture came to be made. Read More »

Kajirô Yamamoto & Akira Kurosawa – Uma aka Horse (1941)

The story of the film is simple: A young girl in the countryside raises a young horse and develops a deep relationship to the animal. But the war is becoming part of life, so in the end she has to sacrifice her horse and sell it to the military. Read More »

Mikio Naruse – Onna ga kaidan wo agaru toki AKA When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960)

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This is the story of Mama, a.k.a. Keiko, a middle-aged geisha who must choose to either get married or buy a bar of her own. Her family hounds her for money, her customers for her attention, and she is continually in debt. The life of a geisha is examined as well as the way in which the system traps and sometimes kills those in it. Read More »

Zenzô Matsuyama – Namonaku mazushiku utsukushiku AKA Happiness of Us Alone (1961)

Synopsis
The story is of two people. One is deaf, the other deaf and dumb. They marry after meeting at a school reunion, and the film follows their trials and tribulations … and joys.

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The directorial debut of longtime screenwriter and frequent Masaki Kobayashi collaborator Zenzo Matsuyama. Read More »

Zenzo Matsuyama – Na mo naku mazushiku utsukushiku aka Happiness of Us Alone (1961)



The directorial debut of longtime screenwriter and frequent Masaki Kobayashi
collaborator Zenzo Matsuyama, Happiness of Us Alone is a tour de force of humanist
cinema that stands as a landmark of the changing attitudes towards people with
disabilities in Japan. A sympathetic portrayal of the suffering of a deaf couple (played by
Matsuyama’s own wife, Hideko Takamine, and frequent co-star Keiju Kobayashi) at the
hands of a shell shocked postwar society that treats them like wayward children to be
at turns pitied or exploited, the film prefigures the wave of activist documentaries of the
1970s exploring mistreatment of the disabled by such filmmakers as Kazuo Hara, Noriaki
Tsuchimoto and Mariko Miyagi. Amidst a culture that traditionally sought to hide those
with disabilities from public view, Happiness of Us Alone charts the often disastrous
consequences of attempting to live an independent life in a society that isn’t yet prepared
to accommodate those who are different. Read More »

Heinosuke Gosho – Entotsu no mieru basho AKA Where Chimneys Are Seen (1953)

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Winner of the International Peace Prize at the 1953 Berlin Film Festival and considered “one of the really important postwar Japanese films, Where Chimneys Are Seen focuses primarily on the interconnected lives of two couples in a lower-middle-class neighborhood in Senju, a poor industrial section of Tokyo. The narrative is structured as a series of juxtaposed scenes that dramatize this connection and show the cause and effect of events on the couples’ lives. As part of this structure, there is the central motif of the chimneys and the kinds of “lyrical” interludes for which Gosho is famous. Read More »