Tag Archives: Chishû Ryû

Buichi Saito – Ai to shi o mitsumete AKA Gazing at Love and Death (1964)

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Based on the moving true story of a senior high school student named Michiko (Sayuri Yoshinaga) who contracted a terminal illness and spent the following three years exchanging over 400 letters with her boyfriend Makoto (Mitsuo Hamada). Read More »

Yasujirô Ozu – Chichi ariki AKA There Was a Father (1942)

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Yasujiro Ozu’s frequent leading man Chishu Ryu is riveting as Shuhei, a widowed high school teacher who finds that the more he tries to do what is best for his son’s future, the more they are separated. Though primarily a delicately wrought story of parental love, There Was a Father offers themes of sacrifice that were deemed appropriately patriotic by Japanese censors at the time of its release during World War II, making it a uniquely political film in Ozu’s body of work. Read More »

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 »

Wim Wenders – Tokyo Ga (1985)

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Taking a breather from the Paris, Texas shooting, Wim Wenders hopped a plane, camera in hand, to look for the Tokyo enshrined by the late Yasujiro Ozu (whose work Wenders dubs “the sacred treasure of the cinema”). What he found instead, documented in this filmic journal, was an urbanized dislocation not far from the forlorn emptiness he coached out of German and American vistas. Whether abstracting businessmen teeing off atop skyscrapers or the rigorous, artisanal craft of building a wax sandwich display, Wenders scrambles for humanity seeping through neon and steel — a humanity linked, inevitably, to the old Japan of Ozu’s films (rebellious tykes, cherry blossoms, tranquil countrysides). Read More »

Yasujiro Ozu – Banshun aka Late Spring (1949)

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Plot from allmovie by Hal Erickson

Veteran Japanese writer/director Yasujiro Ozu’s second postwar production was 1949’s Late Spring or Banshun. Chisu Ryu plays another of Ozu’s realistic middle-class types, this time a widower with a marriageable daughter. Not wishing to see the girl resign herself to spinsterhood, Ryu pretends that he himself is about to be married. The game plan is to convince the daughter that they’ll be no room for her at home, thus forcing her to seek comfort and joy elsewhere. What makes this homey little domestic episode work is the rapport between Chisu Ryu and Setsuko Hara, who plays the daughter. Late Spring is no facile Hollywood farce; we like these people, believe in them, and wish them the best. Read More »

Yasujiro Ozu – Bakushû AKA Early Summer (1951)

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An independent-minded 28-year old woman living in cosmopolitan, postwar Tokyo may seem immune from the societal pressures of marriage, but in Noriko’s (Setsuko Hara) environment, it is a perennially surfacing, unavoidable topic. Her father, Shukichi (Ichirô Sugai), and mother, Shige (Chieko Higashiyama), are unable to retire to her uncle’s house in the provincial town of Yamato until their duty to marry off Noriko to a worthy suitor has been fulfilled. Her visits with school friends invariably break down into playful arguments between the married and unmarried women. Even her office director offers to introduce her to a 40-year old business acquaintance, providing her photographs of the obscured prospective suitor to take home to show her family. Read More »