Tag Archives: Chikage Awashima

Kon Ichikawa – Nihonbashi AKA Bridge of Japan (1956) (HD)

Ichikawa’s 1956 adaptation of Nihonbashi was the first to take the work of Kyoka Izumi— until then regarded as a writer of common tragic melodramas—and re-evaluate it as a sanbi-ha work of decadence, aestheticism, and intrigue. Ichikawa’s film presents the tragic plot of the young geisha who is unable to enact her love for a man publicly in any way other than a histrionic story of torment, a heart-rending tale of lovers being crushed by fate. Instead Ichikawa shows the contest of wills that transpires as two geisha, Oko (Chikage Awashima) and Kiyoha (Fujiko Yamamoto) fight for the top spot in Nihonbashi, the pinnacle ot the Tokyo geisha world. Nihonbashi is an elegant, if steely, exposition of manners. The young doctor, Shinzo Katsuragi (Ryuji Shinagawa), is the object of affection for both women, but appears to be more the choice reward for the plotting and thieving of these two early modern superwomen, than a lover they swoon over. Read More »

Mikio Naruse – Iwashigumo AKA Summer Clouds (1958)

Synopsis:
This ensemble piece recounts the lives of a family of farmers by interweaving several different storylines. Holding these stories together is the central figure of a young war widow torn between maintaining her independence and the necessity of remarrying. This is a familiar predicament for Naruse’s heroines, but the film represents a change of pace for the director in many other ways. For one thing, it is his first widescreen color film. Also, while the typical Naruse film takes place in the city, even if its characters often journey into the countryside, here the setting is resolutely rural. The result traces change in postwar Japan (another typical Naruse concern) from the point of view of the farming peasantry, as land reform and economic growth exacerbate the generation gap between restless youngsters and their tradition-bound elders. Read More »

Yasujirô Ozu – Sôshun AKA Early Spring (1956)

Quote:
A young man and his wife struggle within the confines of their passionless relationship while he has an extramarital romance. Read More »

Miyoji Ieki – Robo no Ishi AKA The Wayside Pebble (1964)

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Synopsis:
The Wayside Pebble is an effective drama about the hardships of a childhood spent with a brusque, cold-hearted father and a submissive mother. The year is 1910 and the place is a small Japanese village. Goichi is suffering because he wants to go to school, but his family is too poor to afford that luxury. Even when a kind friend agrees to help out, Goichi’s father refuses to give in to his son’s request for an education. Instead, he sends Goichi off to work as an indentured servant for a cold-hearted merchant and his family. As tragedy strikes and the suffering of the young boy increases, he begins to look for some way out of his bleak situation. Read More »