6.8/10
75
2 user 2 critic

The Garden of Women (1954)

Onna no sono (original title)
A student at a woman's university takes a controversial action against the school's old-fashioned doctrines

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Mayumi Gojô
...
Yoshie Izushi
Keiko Kishi ...
Tomiko Takioka
...
Akiko Hayashino
...
Sankichi Shimoda, Yoshie's boyfriend
Masami Taura ...
Yoshikazu Sagara
Takashi Miki ...
Masao Izushi, Yoshie's brother-in-law
Kuniko Igawa ...
Yoshie's sister, Masao's wife
Yûko Mochizuki ...
Landlady
Chieko Higashiyama ...
Schoolmaster
Kikue Môri ...
President
Chieko Naniwa ...
Proprietress of the restaurant
Nobuo Kaneko ...
Yoshihei Hirato
Kappei Matsumoto ...
Yoshie's father
Kazuko Yamamoto ...
Fumie Hattori
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Storyline

A student at a woman's university takes a controversial action against the school's old-fashioned doctrines

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

rebellion | college | See All (2) »

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

16 March 1954 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Garden of Women  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The director of this film, Keisuke Kinoshita, was regarded by both critics and the public as being engaged in an ongoing professional rivalry with his good friend Akira Kurosawa, because, among other reasons, both filmmakers had directed their debut films in the same year, 1943. (It was Kinoshita who won the Best New Director prize for that year.) In the Best Ten critics poll held by the cinema magazine Kinema Junpo for films released in 1954, this film placed second, beating Kurosawa's most ambitious film up to that time, Seven Samurai (1954), which placed third. In addition, the film that topped the poll that year was another Kinoshita work, the classic Twenty-Four Eyes (1954). (Kinoshita died in 1998, the same year as Kurosawa.) See more »

Connections

Featured in 100 Years of Japanese Cinema (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very Good albeit with a few loose ends
13 June 2015 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

It was a bit surprising to see young Japanese women of the early 1950s in a conservative school asserting themselves so forcefully. Likewise, the open discussion of political thinking and social movements was surprising open especially in comparison to other movies of that time such as "Twenty Four Eyes" wherein it was present but understated and often pushed to the background.

I found the story and the subplots to be nuanced, very compelling and emotionally fully engaging.

Hideko Takamine and Yoshiko Kuga both put in strong performances. Takamine is believable as someone emotionally torn who finds the various pressures overwhelming. Kuga's character is more complicated but she handles the various levels effectively.

The movie might seem long but I think it usefully could have been longer. Alternatively, some attention could have been shifted away from Takamine's character and into others. There are a large number of characters and although we get good development in some cases, we don't get a chance to be fully introduced to each of them. If we had, it would have made the motivations of all of them more clear. One example is the school's counselor who seems to be torn between sympathy for the students, his opinions of his colleagues and his role in the school. We don't get much insight into his personal perspective, we just get the results and have to speculate.

There are a number of sub plots going on and I can see how one could get some of the secondary characters confused at times. We are also left a bit unclear about the precise chain of command in the school's hierarchy. Who ultimately calls the shots there and who would be expected to take responsibility of various events is not clear. Perhaps some improvements in the script and/or the editing could have handled that better.

We also get some parochial sentimentality that is very standard Japanese fare but I don't think it is overdone at all.


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