7.2/10
5,766
40 user 22 critic

Rhapsody in August (1991)

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

Director:

Akira Kurosawa

Writers:

Kiyoko Murata (novel), Akira Kurosawa
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5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

Taglines:

Tears. Laughter. Innocence. It was a summer of remembering

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

20 December 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rapsodia en agosto See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$26,771, 22 December 1991

Gross USA:

$516,431

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$516,431
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was based on the Kiyoko Murata novel "In the Stew" which Kurosawa had read while filming "Dreams." He adapted it to a script in about 15 days. See more »

Quotes

Kane: People do anything just to win war. Sooner or later it will destroy us all.
See more »

Connections

References Kwaidan (1964) 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

 
Gripping family drama
16 August 2003 | by brower8See all my reviews

If this is a "weak" movie by Akira Kurosawa, then I can imagine how great a "strong" one is. Perhaps it is uncharacteristic of his work. So what? Must it be a samurai epic to be great? What Samurai epics by Kurosawa that I have seen are spectacular.

The elements of great drama are all here. An old woman who had lost her husband in the atom bomb explosion at Nagasaki discovers that she has a brother who had emigrated to Hawaii seventy years earlier, had become an American citizen, and had married a woman not of Japanese origin through correspondence that her grandchildren had with their uncle's son (Richard Gere). The old woman has demons with which to contend -- The Bomb, the military defeat which must have seared the esteem of every Japanese of the time, the intrusion of American culture into Japanese life, her children who have become insufferably petty and materialistic... ...Sure, Richard Gere is not one of my favorite actors, but he plays the role of someone 'just visiting' who speaks broken Japanese. That minor role mercifully stretches his limited acting talents little..

The treatment of Nagasaki as two worlds -- one lost, one all-new -- seems to tell me much about the Japanese, at least of the children's generation. Maybe the children can save the memory of the significance of the changes in Japan since 1945, if not the events themselves.

The confusing ending prevents me from giving a "10/10" rating. Not since the Civil War have any Americans have experienced anything remotely similar to the events in this story in America. It's beautifully done, and it is gripping for someone who has no ties to Japan. It reminds me in some respects of "Gone With the Wind" without the objectionable features of racism, catty characters as protagonists, or perverse sentimentality of a rotten social order such as the one that Japan had before 1945. If GWTW gets an "8" from me, then "Rhapsody in August" gets a "9".


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