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Rhapsody in August (1991)

Hachi-gatsu no kyôshikyoku (original title)
PG | | Drama | 20 December 1991 (USA)
Three generations' responses to the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

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Writers:

(novel),
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5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Sachiko Murase ...
Kane
Hisashi Igawa ...
Tadao
Narumi Kayashima ...
Machino
Tomoko Ôtakara ...
Tami
Mitsunori Isaki ...
Shinjiro
Toshie Negishi ...
Kane's daughter
Hidetaka Yoshioka ...
Tateo
Chôichirô Kawarasaki ...
Noboru
Mieko Suzuki ...
Minako (as Mie Suzuki)
...
Clark (as Richâdo Gia)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Shizuko Azuma
Satoko Hayashi
Masahito Hirose
Noriko Honma ...
Mourner
Ayao Imada
Edit

Storyline

An elderly woman living in Nagasaki Japan takes care of her four grandchildren for their summer vacation. They learn about the atomic bomb that fell in 1945, and how it killed their grandfather. Written by Matthew Rorie <mrorie@vt.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 December 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rapsodia en agosto  »

Box Office

Gross:

$516,431 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the top of his career from starring alongside 'Julia Roberts' in Pretty Woman, Richard Gere was earning millions of dollars per picture. Kurosawa's company felt they were unable to pay his salary, to which Gere responded with "I'll work free for Kurosawa." Not wanting to take advantage of the actor, they offered him a modest sum, as well as offering to pay for all his travel expenses, including friends he wanted to bring with him to Japan while he worked. One of those friends included 'Cindy Crawford'. See more »

Quotes

Kane: I got old and so did this organ.
See more »

Connections

References Godzilla (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

Stabat Mater
Music by Antonio Vivaldi (as Vivaldi)
Performed by James Bowman with The Academy of Ancient Music
Conducted by Christopher Hogwood
Courtesy of L'Oiseau-Lyre, through Polydor Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Holds up against his best films
9 February 2001 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

Akira Kurosawa is one of my very favorite filmmakers. If you search through my reviews, I have written about a few, The Seven Samurai, High and Low, Kagemusha, and Dreams. I have seen many more, Rashomon, Ikiru (my personal favorite), Yojimbo, Sanjuro, Dersu Uzala, and Ran. I have only disliked one, High and Low, but not one of his films failed to amaze me in some way or other. My initial opinion, after seeing Rashomon, The Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Ran and Kagemusha was that he was an amazing stylist whose films felt slightly impersonal to me. I strongly disagree with that opinion now (I expressed it in my review to Kagemusha, which I'm surprised hasn't resulted in tons of hate mail).

I have just finished watching Kurosawa's second to last film, Rhapsody in August. It is not highly regarded, usually dismissed as a very minor work in a master's portfolio. This I also discovered about my second favorite of his films, Dreams. Well, as far as my opinion, I think people were dead wrong about both of these films.

Rhapsody in August is not a stylistic masterpiece like The Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, or Ran. Instead, only second to Ikiru, it is Kurosawa's most humanistic film. I have only seen one film by him (although I've read a lot about him), but I would compare it more to Yasujiro Ozu's work.

This film has a plethora of themes, ranging from the effect of the H-Bomb on both the Japanese and the Americans, the generation gaps between the three generations present (the matriarch of the family feels separate from her middle-aged children, but she relates well to her grandchildren who are interested in their country's sorrowful history), and the effect of American culture on the Japanese of the present generation. It is quite a handful, but everything is handled so subtly that some viewers who don't pick up on it all may easily grow uninterested. In some ways, the film feels very didactic (in a good way). I can imagine this film being showed to younger children, since the four grandchildren, at least at the beginning, are learning about the history of the bomb and Nagazaki and their grandfather's death.

The only weak point of the film is probably the very end, which is difficult to understand. I have a feeling that there was some cross-cultural barrier preventing my understanding of it, so if anyone does get it, please contact me. Anyway, as I perceived it, the film ended kind of randomly. But still, what has come before is too good to get too upset by the lack of closure. It deserves a 10/10.


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