Rookie movie director Koichi and his crew travels to the mountain village of Yamamura to film his next movie. The villagers are eventually enlisted to help film the movie and, in particular... See full summary »
After the collapse of their relationship, Kiwako abducts the 6-month old child of a man she was having an affair with. Raising the child as her own, it is four years before the authorities catch up with her and the young child.
Journalist Shuichi Fujii receives a letter from convicted killer Junji Sudo. Writing from death row, Sudo wants to confess to crimes unknown to the police. On visiting Sudo in prison, Fujii... See full summary »
A mellow drama following the moral decline of a housewife turned bank employee who embezzles a fortune from her customers and indulges in an affair with a younger man. Set in 1994, shortly after the burst of Japan's economic bubble.
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 »
Two young guys work in a plant that manufactures oshibori (those moist hand-towels found in some Japanese restaurants). Their weird bond is based on uncontrollable rage--something neither ... See full summary »
An old man, being rowed along a river, sees a field of daisies (or Wild Chrysanthemums, as they are described in the title, or starworts, as they are referred to in the subtitles), and ... See full summary »
This is a well known movie in the history of Japanese movies. Sometime in my childhood, I heard the theme song every day on a radio. For long years this movie has been on my wish list.
And just few years ago, I read a news that the woman who triggered the making of the movie died. Mrs. Tanaka Kiyo, a wife of a lighthouse keeper, wrote about her own life for a women' magazine. A movie producer happened to read it and was heavily moved, who planned to make the movie.
Then this movie. This is by no means a sophisticated movie. Poor acting performance, particularly the lead actor Sada Keiji acts awkwardly. He does not cover well the ages from early 20s through late 40s. As for the screenplay, you can tell the differences in reality between the topics based on real stories and the fiction.
Nevertheless, this 160 minutes long movie has power that keeps audience attention until the end. I think the power comes from the reality it portrays, the fact that there actually are people who serve with their families for this thankless job of lighthouse keepers. Lighthouse keeper is a lonely, monotonous and somber job. Yet it is dangerous in case of storm. As most lighthouses are located in remote, secluded place, their families suffer heavily. This movie not only depicts the life of lighthouse keepers, but also let us think about the meaning of work and being wife and husband. The following conversation typically expresses it:
Wife(in bed of sickness): People must have forgotten us. I doubt even the ships going offshore know how much burden we are having to protect their safe navigation. Husband: Even if no one cares, it does not matter. My burden you know, your burden I know.
In 1950's when the movie was made, many Japanese were empathized with such view on labor. Today? I believe it still works.
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