Schoolteacher Hisako Oishi struggles to imbue her students with a positive view of the world and their place in it, despite the fact that she knows full well that most of them will die in the war.Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
According to Japanese film critic and historian Tadao Sato, in casting this film about a schoolteacher and her relationships with her pupils over many years, director Keisuke Kinoshita very cleverly chose pairs of look-alike siblings to portray the students. So for those scenes set in later years, Kinoshita simply substituted the older siblings for the younger ones, so that the schoolchildren appeared to "grow" before the audience's eyes. See more »
(Traditional Japanese Graduation Song) See more »
Another postwar japanese gem
Compared to a film like "Pigs And Battleships", or even "I Live In Fear"; Kinoshita's film is a middlebrow, mainstream, even sentimental take on the Japan's war years and it's aftermath.
Still, the film is graceful and touching, with what Pauline Kael called "concealed art." Kinoshita's approach seems to be to take potently maudlin situations, and film them from an objective distance; with as direct and simple emotion as possible.
This may short change the great Takamine a bit; we seem to be an hour into the film before the great actress receives a close up. Still, her performaces gains power as the film goes on.
Though politics are kept in the background, as perhaps they had to in a Japanese film of this nature; but there is an anger lurking in the backgroud; an inditement of a culture that would waste the strength of it's woman and worse; reduce it's men to cannon fodder. Was it something in Japanese life; rather than just it's military, that led to it's disasters? Even the country's great filmmakers seem hesitant to speculate. In any event, another strong film of interest to all those who have fallen under the spell of great Japanese film.
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