Bitter Spirit (1961)
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This is my second Kinoshita film, and it had reminded me a lot of She Was Like A Wild Chrysanthemum mainly for the masterful shots of Japanese landscapes, and only now do I realize he's the same director. I loved the first film, but I found this to be too dragging out. At least it's pretty to look at, and plot-wise it's not that complicated once the film gets going and you get used to the character's names. Boyfriend and cripple guy come back from war. Cripple guy rapes girlfriend have baby, forced to get married. Bastard child grows up problematic for the family, second child is a some totalitarianist and gets in trouble with government, third daughter marries boyfriend's son and cripple guy is like "seriously..." That's roughly it, I'll leave it up to you to get the names. Much of it is heavy family tension, and the constant bickering between the married couple can kinda seem unbuyable, but all somehow concludes in a relieving last minute sigh centred on forgiveness. My favourite scene would maybe be one of the attempted suicide scenes, one with rapids and the other in a volcano- don't know how either of those were shot. I also don't know the significance of the title "Immortal Love"? A film with nothing but unstable relationships? Seriously...
I don't know how younger movie-goers will deal with the relationships in this movie, but I saw marriages when I was a youngster where man and wife hated each other with a passion, and that led me to believe that perhaps the title was a mistranslation, despite the fact that this is the only Japanese movie I've ever seen with a flamenco score. Was the love that felt by Miss Takamine for Mr. Sada, despite the fact that he shows up later with a wife and son? Might the word in Japanese actually mean "Passion"?
All was revealed by the end, but in the meantime, the story, performers and cinematography by Hiroshi Kusuda certainly kept my interest going!