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Flame of My Love (1949)
"Waga koi wa moenu" (original title)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 241 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 5 critic

A woman's struggle for equality in Japan in the 1880s. Eiko Hirayama leaves Okayama for Tokyo, where she helps the fledgling Liberal Party and falls in love with its leader Kentaro Omoi, ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Eiko Hirayama
Mitsuko Mito ...
Chiyo
Kuniko Miyake ...
Toshiko Kishida
Ichirô Sugai ...
Kentaro Omoi
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Shinobu Araki ...
Eiko's father
Zeya Chida
Eitarô Ozawa ...
Ryuzo Hayase
Sadako Sawamura
Koreya Senda ...
Prime Minister Inagki
Eijirô Tôno ...
State Councillor Ito
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Storyline

A woman's struggle for equality in Japan in the 1880s. Eiko Hirayama leaves Okayama for Tokyo, where she helps the fledgling Liberal Party and falls in love with its leader Kentaro Omoi, just as the party is being disbanded by the government. Eiko and Omoi are jailed because of a fire at a factory instigated by Chiyo, a servant girl from Eiko's home in Okayama, who was sold to slavery. A few years later the 1889 constitution is proclaimed, Eiko, Omoi, and Chiyo are pardoned, and the Liberal Party is reinaugurated. However Omoi does not campaign for women's rights. Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

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Details

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Release Date:

5 January 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

My Love Burns  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Connections

Referenced in Kenji Mizoguchi: The Life of a Film Director (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

 
FLAME OF MY LOVE (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1949) ***1/2
22 May 2008 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Equally well-known by another metaphorical name – MY LOVE HAS BEEN BURNING – this may be a period piece but it’s set in an era that was relatively recent at the time of filming, the 1880s; though a good many of Mizoguchi’s works that I’ve watched touched upon the political climate of their particular time-frame, this one revolves entirely around the efforts of a party (the Liberals) to push their personal agenda (promoting Women’s Rights) – which, being so radical, would necessitate a change in the country’s Constitution!

Again, the leading role is played by Kinuyo Tanaka and based on a real person: she quarrels with her conservative parents over her support of the Liberals; however, she can’t bring herself to follow her partner to Tokyo…until a friend of the family is sold into slavery to pay off her father’s debts! However, when she arrives in the big city and searches for her former companion, he seems changed and clearly considers her presence there intrusive; it transpires that he’s sold out to the Government and is spying on the Liberals (the Election being just around the corner)! Having struck a relationship with the leader of the party, she stays on; arriving at an appointed meeting-place one day, she sees her old girlfriend being beaten up (this must surely have been quite a shockingly violent scene for its time!) and tries to intervene – the latter, in contempt and desperation, burns down the place; the Police then turn up and arrest several people – including the heroine, her new partner and the young girl.

The two women share the same cell: the young girl, however, has grown bitter with the passage of time and is abrasive even to her caring older friend; still, together they endure hardship in the prison quarry – until it’s discovered that the young girl is pregnant (from the man who had bought her); she loses the baby…but, then, a General Amnesty of political prisoners is called and the three protagonists are re-united. With this, though, Tanaka’s problems merely take a different turn: her partner is exposed as a libertine who shamelessly keeps the young girl as a concubine (a situation revealed to her by the latter’s former master/lover)! Nevertheless, he’s elected to Parliament; disillusioned yet undaunted in her hope of one day getting to see Japanese women attain Equality, Tanaka ultimately decides to return to her hometown (a sequence tinged with irony as the heroine overhears some people praising the humanitarian qualities of the Liberal candidate!)…but, on the train, she’s joined by the young girl (who, realizing she was being exploited even by those who should know better, is looking forward to a more dignified existence).

While on paper all of this might seem less than appetizing (being a mix of politics and melodrama), Mizoguchi’s assured handling makes all the difference – resulting in a compelling portrait of an era, highlighted by impressively-staged crowd scenes and any number of powerful individual moments depicting tension, cruelty, heartache and faith.


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