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Happiness of Us Alone (1961)

Namonaku mazushiku utsukushiku (original title)
A sympathetic portrayal of the suffering of a deaf couple at the hands of a shell shocked postwar society that treats them like wayward children to be at turns pitied or exploited.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Akiko Katayama
Keiju Kobayashi ...
Michio Katayama
Sen Hara ...
Akiko's mother
Michiko Araki
Mitsuko Kusabue ...
Nobuko, Akiko's sister
Yûzô Kayama ...
Akira
Masaya Takahashi
Someshô Matsumoto
Yôichi Numata ...
Koichi, Akiko's brother
Chieko Nakakita
Yoshie Minami
Atsuko Ichinomiya
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Storyline

A sympathetic portrayal of the suffering of a deaf couple at the hands of a shell shocked postwar society that treats them like wayward children to be at turns pitied or exploited.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

in the tradition of "Johnny Belinda"

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

14 August 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Happiness of Us Alone  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Remade as Uyarnthavargal (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Simple and Superb
15 April 2000 | by See all my reviews

One of the five best Japanese films I've ever seen.

The story is of two people. One is deaf, the other deaf and dumb. They marry after meeting at a school reunion, and the film follows their trials and tribulations ... and joys.

The beauty of this charming yet realistic film is that the couple (who communicate with each other exclusively in sign language, which is subtitled) are neither patronized nor glorified by the director. They are treated straight, as two very normal people with ordinary lives, who just happen to be hearing-impaired.

Alfred Hitchcock once described drama as "ordinary life with the boring bits cut out". Another great feature of this film is that much of the story consists of bits of ordinary life, yet it never becomes boring. Indeed, and this is amazing considering the domestic quality of the storytelling, the film proceeds at a cracking pace, covering about a decade in just under two hours. The couple decide to have a child, but the baby dies, and only because of their parents' deafness. After agonizing about laying blame, the couple put this tragedy behind them and have another child ... who turns out to be a ghastly little boy. And this is only the beginning of their troubles.

The acting is first rate by all the major players. I particularly liked Akiko's spirited mother. But it's lead actress Hikedo Takamine who turns in a tour-de-force, with her expressive pierrot face. I cannot recommend this movie highly enough. It is simply wonderful.


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