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Kinoshita's first film after the end of World War II is a wrenching, superbly wrought tale about a liberal-minded Japanese family torn apart by war and imperialist politics. Morning for the... See full summary »
Schoolteacher Hisako Oishi struggles to imbue her students with a positive view of the world and their place in it, despite the fact that she knows full well that most of them will die in the war. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
It just so happened that I watched this 1954 movie right after a newer big budget work - the 2001 Uprising.
Both movie centered around WWII and the havoc it caused. Told from the victims' perspective, both dealt with the issues of living and dying in the most horrendous circumstances.
While Jon Avnet tells the Warsaw Jewish uprising through vivid action scenes, director Kinoshite did not even fire a single shot. The closest he got to any kind of violence was the lead actress falling into a sandpit.
Yet the pain of war came through stronger in this almost pastoral movie. It is almost excruciating to watch her slowly losing her brood of students to the cruelty of war.
Hideko Takamine played the part of teacher beautifully. From a brash young innocent before the war to a wizened survivor, she did it with great sensitivity. If ever anyone needs a portrait of Japanese stoicism, she must surely be the first choice. You will surely grieve with her at the loss of her young daughter - falling to her death trying to pluck a persimmon to ease her hunger.
156 minutes may seems a long time by modern movie standard. But at the end of this movie, you could almost be there at the little inn, sipping a little sake, looking at a old school photo through a blind man's eyes, celebrating life.
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