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|Index||23 reviews in total|
This film provides an interesting counterpoint to other Kurosawa films. Its portrayal of post-war Japan recalls Stray Dog, but the poverty and sleaziness in this case are used as the background for a romance between two very attractive young people, who have a Sunday date, but only 35 yen to spend. Yet there is not the gloom of Lower Depths. Both have jobs and we see his minimally decent rental room. The title seems throughout the film to be rather ironic, since most of the situations they encounter, such as being cheated at a snack bar, are far from wonderful. However, Kurosawa puts a positive spin at the conclusion. I agree with another reviewer that the device of having the girl speak to the audience, seeking our sympathy for young couples without money, who wish to marry, is a very awkward device that distracts from our interest in the relationship. However, I disagree with another reviewer who describes the ending as corny: we've all heard of Capra-corny. This film does not come up to Capra's level, but it is reminiscent of his human interest. It seemed to me that the closing device of the girl's making a date for the next Sunday works very well. Every film needs closure, and this one does not deal in high drama at any point, so a highly dramatic climax would not be appropriate. The viewer who wants that should go to Ran or Kagemusha. In my view, the early Kurosawa films showed him how to develop human relationships: a gift that later would be present in the samurai films, and would make them much more than action epics.
I had said two weeks ago, in a review of Scandal, that Eclipse's new Kurosawa box set could just as easily be called Lesser Kurosawa. That's not fair. I know there are those who champion The Idiot and No Regrets for Our Youth, and even the one film I had previously seen from the set, I Live in Fear, is quite good (though it's hard to argue with it being a lesser film is such an outstanding oeuvre). The truth was, I was hoping very much to find some lesser-known Kurosawa classics. Which brings us to One Wonderful Sunday. Judging solely by IMDb's votes, it's Kurosawa's third least seen movie. And it ranks #26 out of 30 when listed by ratings. Well, I'll be happy to act like I was the first who discovered this hidden gem in Kurosawa's catalogue. This really is a wonderful little film. Influenced very much by Vittorio de Sica, one of Kurosawa's favorite directors, One Wonderful Sunday follows two young lovers, Yuzo and Masako (Isao Numasaki and Chieko Nakakita), spending the titular day together with nothing but ¥35 between them. The two experience sadness and hardship as they go about their date. The structure is episodic, as the lovers experience odd vignettes, meeting various post-war types, like bums and orphans and ticket scalpers. The two try to be happy with each other's company, but Yuzo's poverty makes him feel like less of a man. In one of the strongest sequences in Kurosawa's career, Yuzo decides to act like a cad to drive Masako away. Kurosawa was hardly ever the subtle type, and he is not known for long periods of silence or long takes. This sequence demonstrates a different side of the director. The climax of the film involves an odd breaking of the fourth wall resembling the device in J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. As far as I know, this is the only time Kurosawa ever attempted such a thing. That wouldn't be too surprising, though, as film audiences rarely interact with characters on screen. It's just too out there for the medium. But God bless Kurosawa for trying it. It's kind of schmaltzy, but I loved the characters so much that at least I thought about clapping for them. A forgotten near-masterpiece.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A young couple meet to spend their Sunday together, as they do every
Sunday. They have 35 yen to spend - a paltry amount. Off they go, but
at the back of their minds, nagging them, threatening to ruin their
date, is their impoverished circumstances. The man takes this to heart.
The woman, whose shoes are falling apart, is blessed with optimism.
Don't be fooled by the simplicity of the storyline. This film engaged me on several levels. It's the story of their date which keeps threatening to turn sour, and often does, but which is finally rescued by one unalterable fact: their love for each other. Not some dreamy-eyed American mass-culture Silhouette-novel type of love, but real, practical love that demands rigorous action when the stakes are down. If anything, this film presents a blueprint of how this couple will spend the rest of their lives together. It's heartwarming in a really special way.
Through the eyes of this couple, as the day's events unfold, we see a panorama of post-war Japan, and it isn't a pretty sight. There is corruption on every scale imaginable. Desperate circumstances force people to compromise their pride and integrity, even in minuscule ways. The man is tempted on all sides to compromise his, so this film becomes the story of his struggle not to (in one scene he becomes enraged when scalpers buy up the remaining 10 yen concert tickets that he and his date wanted and start re-selling them for 15 yen). Money is the pervasive leitmotif of this film. Money and the not having it, the wanting it, the scrounging for it, the giving it, the soul-tainting influence of it, and yes, the necessity of it.
That's not to say that there isn't grace and beauty here. And magic. There's plenty, amid the heartache and despair. "One Wonderful Sunday" reminded me of "The Bicycle Thief", De Sica's powerful portrait of post-war Rome, also mounted on a deceptively simple vehicle - a man's desperate search for his stolen bicycle.
And finally, the whole thing is tied together by a most inspired and dramatic metaphor. At the start of the film the man spies a half-smoked cigarette on the busy sidewalk. He focuses all his attention on it. Looking around, embarrassed, he quickly reaches for it, but his girlfriend suddenly appears. He explains, sheepishly, that he hasn't had a smoke in three days. At the end of the film he comes across a half-smoked cigarette on the train platform. He hesitates, then crushes it with his shoe, his pride intact. I once had a friend whose desperate circumstances led him to gather cigarette butts off the sidewalk. I never brought it up, but I know it was an issue for him.
I've been watching some Kurosawa films recently, and I had almost forgotten that there could be such beauty and intelligence in cinema.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is not the most exciting or engaging of Kurosowa's films. The pace is a bit slow and the plot meanders here and there. Even so, I found it very enjoyable. It has a light and hopeful tone to it. Having recently taken a class focusing in great detail on immediate post-war Japan, this film is a good reflection and comment on that time. Everyday hardships, such as black marketeering, inflation, and scarcity are well represented without being overwhelmingly depressing. The tone may often seem a bit maudlin, particularly the scene requesting audience participation near the end, yet this film was released in mid 1947 and life for the intended audience was as bad as or worse than our fictional couple. People could relate to the scenes portrayed. When the girl asks for the audience to clap, it is not just to raise her and her boyfriends spirits, it's to try to bring everyone up. Today, out of context, it seems corny, but back then in 1947, if you had just ducked into a dark movie theatre and spent your 5 or 10 or however many yen for a few hours escape on a Sunday afternoon with your girlfriend, it has a different meaning. All in all, a worthwhile film, particularly for those with an interest in Kurosowa or postwar Japan.
Far from being one of Kurosawa's best films, it is still a powerful and
thoughtful one. He had already developed his filmmaking mastery at this
point of time, and it can surely be seen by the way some of the scenes
The film concerns a story of love surrounded by poverty and despair; the main characters of the film have the whole Sunday to go out and be together, the only problem being their shortness of money, as they only had 35 yens to go through the day. Being short of money as they were, there were not many things they could do, so they had to spend them wisely. This mainly leads to frustration from both sides, and so the film becomes depressing most of the time, even though they are really in love with each other and are happy to have a day available for them. Throughout the film they will encounter many obstacles and disheartening experiences, which will push them towards feeling impotent, but they always manage to bring happiness out of all that awful moments, and there is where the magic of this film resides.
It might seem like a simple, clichéd love story we have always been familiar with, and it actually could have just been that, if it was not for the Excellency of Kurosawa's filmmaking skills. He brings magic to many of the main scenes of the film, which definitely increases the experience by showcasing everything in detail. The last scene is really outstanding because of the way it is portrayed; you can actually feel both the pain and happiness they are feeling.
In conclusion, this film is definitely overshadowed by other masterpieces from Kurosawa's filmography, and is definitely not the best from him, but this little film is not to be skipped if you really like the director.
My score: 7.7/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A poor couple spend a Sunday together. They desperately try to have a
good time but their pockets are just too empty to think of anything
This is one unbelievable film. Genre is Neo-realism but the style is poetic. I think this is Kurusowa's best. Of course it lacks the complexity of 'Rashomon', grandeur of 'Ran', brilliance of 'kagemusha' or even novelty of 'Seven Samurai' but this film is no doubt a fantastic depiction of human misery by the genius himself. There are so many scenes where you are so much into the scene that you don't realize that the camera has not moved in a long time. For example when girl leaves the room and Yuzo walks around frustrated the camera doesn't move. It gives a very theatrical feel. Every single track is a master piece. I loved the scene where Yuzo goes inside a hotel to meet his friend and he see people in changing rooms and staff rooms. Its brilliant. Its out of the world. How the hell he thinks about about such fantastic locations. Baseball , Ticket line, Yuzo's home, Opera, hotel. Its just fantastic. Parallel allusion drawn with sunshine and rain was phenomenal. Significance of the cigarette bud was sheer genius. Clap, coffee, home. Its unbelievable.I have no idea why people call it Kurosawa's transitional film. Great director make all kinds of films. which one is Spielberg's, Kubrick's or kiarostami's transitional film? I think if a person doesn't like this film then he has no idea what poverty is. 10/10.
ONE WONDERFUL SUNDAY (1947) has a simple little plot. A young Tokyo couple have almost no money to spend on their only day available for a date. It isn't long until the money is gone, as well as the young man's spirit. The ending is uncomfortably corny, you will squirm in your seat. There is signs of Akira Kurosawa becoming a great director. He makes us pay attention to the decreasing amount of money (much like he made us pay attention to the number of slain bandits in SEVEN SAMURAI, and his stab at Frank Capra style humor is pretty good. A must see for the student of this great director.
Not one of my favourites from Akira Kurosawa- hard because he is one of cinema's greatest directors with a lot of great films- but when talking about his most underrated films One Wonderful Sunday would be a strong contender. A few scenes go on for a little too long, other than that there was not really anything that came across as wrong. Admittedly the ending is an odd one but also amusing and affecting, one of those endings that wasn't a problem for me but one also that will work for some and not so much for others. While not the most audacious visually of Kurosawa's films One Wonderful Sunday is still beautifully shot, going for the simple (but not simplistic) approach rather than one that, considering the tone of the film, could fall into overblown-style territory. Kurosawa's direction for so early on in his career directs more than capably, One Wonderful Sunday is different in a way for him- one of his most simple films for sure- but there is clear evidence of knowing how to direct with style and he seems to be very comfortable with it. The music when used fits very well and will please any listener. The writing is amusing and uplifting while also peaceful and poignant, and with the story there is a playful tone in places, a dream-like one in others and then there are a lot of scenes where it is endearingly sweet and has a lot of emotional impact. There is poverty as a theme but it's not used heavy-handedly at all. The acting is very good if not among the greatest performances of a Kurosawa film. Then again, you shouldn't expect that, and that is the same with the film too, even if it isn't one of Kurosawa's finest it does deserve to be judged on its own merits of which One Wonderful Sunday has a great many. Coming back to the acting, Chieko Nakakita is captivating right from her appearance to how she grabs the attention of the viewer even in the simplest of things. Overall, a beautiful film and deserves to be better known and seen much more than it is at the moment. 9/10 Bethany Cox
This is almost like a play and it is a deceptively simple story. Its about a poor couple who get together on Sundays for a date. Essentially, this film is about one of the dates. Nothing earthshattering happens, pretty much life happens. I was at first not convinced by it, but as the film progressed I began to listen to the characters more, meaning the story took on a deeper meaning. The two lead actors are superb, and one thing I do like is that especially Masako is played by a lady who is not beautiful but sweet and just attractive (if this film was remade in America tomorrow, Beyonce would be the star). Actually, its a shame this film wasn't re-made in the United States about 25 years ago. I could see Meryl Streep really flexing her always considerable acting muscles on a role like this. So, it is a film about a date, but its a film about hopes, disappointments and dreams. It gets better as it goes along. I recommend it, its worth your time.
Akira Kurosawa's movies have a whole range of themes, be they set in
contemporary or in historical eras. To name a few: the chasm between
the rich and the poor, between the strong and the weak, between the
courageous and the cowards, between the powerful and their foot folk,
between the honest and the deceitful, between the clever and the
idiots, between the sincere and the dishonest, and also, importantly,
between war (destruction and loss) and peace (happiness).
In this movie, made just after WW II, he depicts the struggle for life of 'poor lovers', whose dreams were shattered by the war. Japan is in dire straits: no jobs, and, if you have a job, bad salaries; high rents for decent shelters and huge inflation. 'Free markets' are controlled by 'black' merchants and their thugs. There is still an upper class, which looks with contempt on those without money, their former foot folk. The girl remains optimistic, but her lover is deeply depressed.
Akira Kurosawa made some very risky shots on the music of F. Schubert's unfinished symphony. But, he had the mastery to create the perfect mood. Not to be missed and certainly not by A. Kurosawa fans.
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