In 1939, Sakura Nishi is a young army nurse who is sent to the field hospitals in China during the Sino-Japanese war. She has to assist the surgeon Dr. Okabe with an incredible number of ... See full summary »
In post-war Japan, a man brings a lost boy to his tenement. No one wants to take the child for even one night; finally, a sour widow, Tané, does. The next day, complaining, she takes the ... See full summary »
In Kabuki style, the film tells the story of a remote mountain village where the scarcity of food leads to a voluntary but socially-enforced policy in which relatives carry 70-year-old ... See full summary »
Hatsuko Umabuchi is a widow who runs a prosperous geisha house in present day Kyoto. Her daughter Yukiko returns from Tokyo following a failed suicide attempt, after her lover found out ... See full summary »
A representative film directed by Masahiro Makino, son of Shozo Makino ("the father of Japanese film"). This film lent status to ensemble casts that did not rely on famous starts. The ... See full summary »
One of the most delightful Japanese films ever made.
One of the most delightful Japanese films ever made. Yes, the Japanese do make musicals--in fact, quite a lot of them--but most are "kayo eiga" which have only a few inserted songs instead of whole musical numbers that interrupt or at time advance the plot. Oshidori utagassen (roughly translated as "Song Competition Between Lovebirds" (or mandarin ducks, if you are being literal)) is more like a "pure" American musical even though it is set in medieval times. It reveals the influence both of 1930s PCL/Toho musicals like Horoyoi jinsei (1933), based in the contemporary stage revues, and the "bright" jidaigeki of Chiezo Productions. But it also evinces the genius of Makino Masahiro, one of Japan's great directors, who, like Okamoto Kihachi after him, always had a superb flair for tempo and rhythm (witness his brilliant Awa no odoriko (1941) and the end to Ketto Takadanobaba (1937)--less a sword fight than a dance number!). A must-see, and not just for the sight of Shimura Takashi singing! But also check out the other great musicals: the Tanuki goten films, Sannin musume series, the Group Sounds movies, and one of my favorites: Kimi mo shusse ga dekiru (1964).
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