Featuring one of Japan's finest actresses, Mariko Okada, "Akitsu Onsen" is one of the most essential Japanese films of the 1960's.
Joining post-war background, devotion, loneliness and passion, Yoshishige Yoshida creates a remarkably beautiful and lyric film - relying only on the two main characters relations.
Okada, who had already worked with one of the greatest Film Directors in History, Yajusiro Ozu, handles the part with exceptionable beauty and charm.
While Hiroyuki Nagato's performance solid, it has not enough depth for us to take real interest in him - it serves only as a background for Mariko Okada to shine and show her incredible charm, innocence and acting skills.
As most Asian Directors, Yoshida has a sharp eye for framing, and this comes across in every second. Every shot and plane is perfectly balanced, giving the film a beautiful look. Seldom have I seen better framing in a Film. The Japanese once again demonstrate their extreme talent with Film composition and aesthetics. Contrary to what many think, Kurosawa is not the only Japanese director with such talent.
In the end, Mariko Okada and Yoshishige Yoshida (wife and husband) are one of the most defining Director-Actress couples in Film History (along with Yimou Zhang/Gong Li and Ingmar Bergman/Liv Ullman).
I had the honor to meet both Yoshida and Okada at the 27th São Paulo International Film Festival in 2003, and they proved two be two exceptionally humble and pleasant people.
I demand a Criterion Collection DVD right now. Not only of "Akitsu Onsen" but of all Yoshida and Okada films.
Don't miss this one.
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