In Older Brother, Younger Sister, director Mikio Naruse's adaptation of an oft-filmed popular novel by Saisei Murô, the eldest daughter (Machiko Kyô) of a rural family comes home pregnant, ... See full summary »
What is the life of a Geisha like once her beauty has faded and she has retired? Kin has saved her money, and has become a wealthy money-lender, spending her days cold-heartedly collecting ... See full summary »
The businessman Ogata Shingo works with his son Shuichi, who is his secretary, and they live together in the suburb with their wives Yasuko and Kikuko respectively. Shuichi has a love ... See full summary »
Three sisters earn money for their bossy mother by being samisen street musicians. This means mainly playing a banjo type instrument for tips in bars. A number of loosely linked episodes ... See full synopsis »
Father of nine children cannot find a job. Despite their aspirations, the children are encouraged by both parents to hold down menial jobs and contribute to the family expenses. Eventually ... See full synopsis »
Tabi yakusha / Traveling Actors (Mikio NARUSE, 1940)
This film like Ozu's "story of Floating Weeds" depicts a troupe of
wandering kabuki players traveling through rural Japan. It seems to
have been inspired by a tiny element of Ozu's film -- the funny "kabuki
horse", animated by two performers -- the master for the front half
(played by Kamatari FUJIWARA, of later Kurosawa fame) and the
apprentice for the rear (Kan YANAGIYA). At first all goes well, and
they makes friends with some accommodating local lady folk (Tamae
KIYOKAWA and Sugiko ISE).
Unfortunately, however, their local patron (a somewhat over-important
barber, played by Ko MIHASHI) gets drunk and accidentally crushes the
horse's head. After the two object to the pathetically repaired head he
proffers, the barber decides that their fake horse was no good anyway
(despite the audience approval they always received) -- and replaces
them with a real horse. The displaced pair take their revenge, after
moping awhile, by going on a rampage through the town (initially in
their guise of a wild horse) and let the real horse loose. As the film
ends, both the real horse and the two actors (now carrying their bits
of horse costume) flee the town.
Overall, a charming film. Lighter in tone than Ozu's film, it is more
reminiscent of the contemporary work of Hiroshi SHIMIZU (albeit with a
more conventional sense of pacing and structure). Some lovely rural
cinematography by Seiichi KIZUKA. Also entertaining performances by the
two halves of the horse. Especially noteworthy is a scene where
Fujiwara demonstrates his mastery of horse noises for the lady-folk --
and Yanagiya unwittingly demonstrates why he is still only an
apprentice horse's back end.
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