A woman looks back on her family's life in Tokyo before and during WWII. A maid arrives from the countryside to work for an upper middle class family. She fits in well, but everyone's emotions are stirred up with the arrival of a student.
A solitary middle-aged station manager is haunted by troubling memories of his past when he learns the line his station is on will be decommissioned for lack of profitability. He is visited... See full summary »
Tora-San, an eccentric and resourceful tramp, is always cheerful. Although he is an orphan, he decides to go back home after a long absence. He thus sees again his sister Sakura Suwa, who ... See full summary »
A movie that is like a microcosm of Japanese psyche
Where character of Tora-san came out is an interesting topic. The huge success of this series of course owes a lot to the great talent of actor Kiyoshi Atsumi, and director and screen writer Yoji Yamada, but something about this story must hit close to home in the minds of Japanese audience.
Tora-san is as imperfect as a human can get. Yet, he has no ill intentions to anyone he meets which makes him endearing to the audience. Also the culture of down town Tokyo is very special. Although people may not be rich or refined in modern ways, they genuinely care and look after each other, while holding to their tradition.
Perfection is obvious in the story and cinematography presented by director Yoji Yamada. In some ways he shot some of the most beautiful scenes of his career in this series.
This movie was conceived due to two events which precedes its creation. First was another movie starring Kiyoshi Atsumi called Haikei tenno heika sama (Dear His Majesty) which he made stellar performance in, and idea of using Atsumi in a similar role was conceived. The other was the TV drama version of this story where in the end Tora dies from a poison snake bite. The ending of this series was hugely unpopular with the audience, and this movie series was born with non-tragic ending for Tora-san in each episode. Initially the series was to conclude after five episodes, but due to its popularity, it continued for 48 episodes (Yoji Yamada's plan was to shoot 50 episodes, but it ended by Atsumi's untimely death).
By watching this series, you will understand the underpinning of Japanese culture better than any class in sociology can give. The brisk exchange between the characters, quick tempered brawls, who cares attitude, self pity, abandonment, sense of obligation which are all unique to the Japanese society. Although Japan now wears a facade of modernization, in its roots is the feeling like those of the people in this movie. It embodies the modern representation of what the Japanese call "Naniwa Bushi".
The movie is all star cast including Takashi Shimura, Chishu Ryu, future stars of J-drama like Daisaku Akino, and Gin Maeda. Stellar performance by Cheko Baisho as Sakura, and Sachiko Mitsumoto adds to the story.
The seminal episode of Tora-san movie is a delight to watch both from the story, and its beauty.
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