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Twenty-Four Eyes (1954)

Nijûshi no hitomi (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 15 September 1954 (Japan)
Schoolteacher Hisako Oishi forms an emotional bond with her pupils and teaches them various virtues, while at the same time worrying about their future.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 9 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hideki Gôko ...
Isokichi Okada - Bunkyôjô Jidai
Itsuo Watanabe ...
Takeichi Takeshita - Bunkyôjô Jidai
Makoto Miyagawa ...
Kichiji Tokuda - Bunkyôjô Jidai
Takeo Terashita ...
Tadashi Morioka - Bunkyôjô Jidai
Kunio Satô ...
Nita Aizawa - Bunkyôjô Jidai
Hiroko Ishii ...
Masuno Kagawa - Bunkyôjô Jidai
Yasuko Koike ...
Misako Nishiguchi - Bunkyôjô Jidai
Setsuko Kusano ...
Matsue Kawamoto - Bunkyôjô Jidai
Kaoko Kase ...
Sanae Yamaishi - Bunkyôjô Jidai
Yumiko Tanabe ...
Kotsuru Kabe - Bunkyôjô Jidai
Ikuko Kanbara ...
Fujiko Kinoshita - Bunkyôjô Jidai
Hiroko Uehara ...
Kotoe Katagiri - Bunkyôjô Jidai
Hitoshi Gôko ...
Isokichi Okada - Honkô Jidai
Shirô Watanabe ...
Takeichi Takeshita - Honkô Jidai
Jun'ichi Miyagawa ...
Kichiji Tokuda - Honkô Jidai
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Storyline

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 <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

15 September 1954 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Twenty-Four Eyes  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Remade as Children on the Island (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Annie Laurie
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User Reviews

 
Masterpiece of storytelling...
18 March 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

People who view this film would do well to consider the sentiment of post-war Japan in the mid-50s, when the future was still uncertain and the vast devastation and shame caused by the war were prevalent in the mindset of its citizens.

The timing for this film's release was significant, because perhaps for the first time, it permitted the people of Japan to cry unabashedly for themselves, far removed from any political statement so frequent in Shochiku films such as with many of Kurosawa's classics. Movies at the time tended to have positive, uplifting themes that motivated the populous to help rebuild the country into a modern democratic nation. You can thank Douglas MacArthur for that.

The post-war generation was now almost 10 years old, and in the Japanese psyche was the need for justification for its darkest period in history.

This film served as a reminder of the horrors of war, not from the battlefields, but from the emotional scars left on its children who lived and died during it.

Hideko Takamine brilliantly played the role of a school teacher on a typical remote island community in south Japan during an increasingly militarist government. As was customary at the time, the same teacher saw to their students' education from primary to high school, forming a lifetime bond.

Director Keisuke Kinoshita's camera work is nothing less than genius, beautifully portraying the transitions of seasons from year to year. The water, sand, and dust textures are so distinct that you almost forget that it was filmed in black and white.

The character closeups are never exaggerated and the 12 children actors (hence "24 Eyes") do an outstanding job portraying how they end up sacrificing their childhood dreams due to poverty and for national duty.

Of symbolic note is the appearance of the Island bus, which is seen at first with Japanese kanji characters painted on the side. Later in the film, it's written in English as "Shima Bus", signifying how modernization has reached the island after the war.

From cast, location and cinematography, Nijushi no Hitomi is a masterpiece of emotional storytelling.


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