1931-1940AsianClassicsHiromasa NomuraJapan

Hiromasa Nomura – Kinuyo no hatsukoi AKA Kinuyo’s First Love (1940)

Kinuyo is a daughter of rice cracker shop in downtown. She fell in love with her sister’s boyfriend. It is a story whose theme is warm human relationships in a town of customs and manners.

Lauri Kitsnik wrote:
Long before she became a film star with an international following in the post-war years, Tanaka Kinuyo (1909–77) had a prolific and celebrated acting career that went all the way back to the days of silent cinema. First appearing on-screen in 1924, Tanaka arguably reached her early career peak in the mid-1930s, at least in terms of popularity. Employed at the Shōchiku Studios, she starred in a number of critically acclaimed films and has been commonly referred to as the first female film star in Japan. However, just as her later career tends to be oversimplified by a focus on her portrayals of long-suffering women, so one has to bear in mind the dangers of relying on only one facet of her early work. During the 1930s, Tanaka actually appeared in a wide array of roles ranging from traditional maidens to modern career women, which allowed her to display versatile and idiosyncratic skills in acting.

In the conclusion of Kinuyo’s First Love, eldest child Miyoshi Kinuyo (Tanaka) has to take charge of the family business, a rice cracker (senbei) shop, and by doing so gives up any romantic aspirations for the foreseeable future. The final scene of the film has a weary-looking Kinuyo open the shop in the early morning to toast crackers alongside her elderly father. This new self-effacing type has hints of Tanaka’s future roles both as Mizoguchi’s heroines and as the protagonist of Mother (Okāsan, Naruse Mikio, 1952), a woman still full of life but unable to remarry owing to her loyalty to her family. Somewhat ironically, Kinuyo’s First Love also turned out to be the beginning of the end for Tanaka’s romantic roles and marked a strong shift towards the all-forgiving mother mode of her mature career.

382MB | 1h 22m | 720×480 | mkv



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