In 17th century Kyoto, Osan is married to Ishun, a wealthy miserly scroll-maker. When Osan is falsely accused of having an affair with the best worker, Mohei, the pair flee the city and ... See full summary »
Special Forces commander Captain Tadamori returns to Kyoto after successfully defeating the uprising of pirates in the western sea of Japan. But because the high courtiers dislike career ... See full summary »
In eighth century China, the Emperor is grieving over the death of his wife. The Yang family wants to provide the Emperor with a consort so that they may consolidate their influence over ... See full summary »
Alternating in time, between the end of World War II and 1953, Haruko, a widow, does what she can to keep her daughter Utako and son Seiichi safe, fed, and sheltered. By 1953, it's clear ... 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 »
Shinnosuke is introduced to Shizu as a prospective marriage partner, but he falls in love with her widowed sister Oyu. Convention forbids Oyu to marry because she has to raise her son as ... See full summary »
Carmen Falls in Love (aka: Carmen's Innocent Love) is a B&W sequel to the first Japanese color movie, Carmen Comes Home. Both are directed by Keisuke Kinoshita and both star Hideko Takamine in one of her oddest but more recognizable roles. These two films are sadly obscure among the common film-loving public, which is unfortunate because I think that they are very underrated.
This sequel follows the titular character, a stripper, falling in love with an avantgarde artist and getting involved in the candidature-oriented plans of a caricatured female politician. Unlike in the previous film, Carmen's profession is no more presented in an unusual and titillating fashion, but instead simply as a trade done for a living. It's not set in a colorful rural landscape, but instead in a black and white Tokyo. It doesn't rely on color symbolism to accentuate the unevenness of the times, it does so by adding bizarre screen transitions and by subverting the entire visual component with a constant Dutch angle (tilted camera) gimmick. The soundtrack isn't divided between traditional folk songs and Western music, but instead it consists, almost entirely, of Georges Bizet's catchy arias from Carmen, fittingly enough.
It has a strong political aspect to it, introducing two very exaggerated characters. The first is a nuclear paranoia-obsessed housekeeper, and the second is a loud, whiskered lady candidating for an office. Kinoshita also seems to express his thoughts on genders in cinema and society. The film even ends with a message "Where is Carmen going? Hang in there, Carmen!" There are also constant sexual allusions and not-at-all-subtle references that were really bold for the early '50s. Take for example the artist's atelier, which has some phallic sculptures standing idly by.
Carmen Falls in Love is a very strange and outlandish film. It doesn't have a strong enough plot to carry the entire runtime perfectly, but is still very entertaining and mildly provoking, even though sometimes it isn't very clear what Kinoshita is trying to say, but if you enjoyed other Kinoshita-Takamine films, you'll surely like this one too.
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