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Kaseki (1974)

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Credited cast:
... Tajihei Kazuki
Mayumi Ogawa ... Akiko Kazuki
Keiko Kishi ... Woman (Death)
... Kiyoko Kazuki
... Mother-in-law
... Funazu
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tetsuo Hasegawa ... Akiko's husband
Yoshio Inaba
Shigeru Kôyama ... Kihara
Sue Mitobe
Seiji Miyaguchi ... Sunami
Ichirô Nakatani ... Taisuke, Tajihei's brother
Orie Satô ... Akihiko's wife
Yûsuke Takita
Jûkichi Uno ... Tappei Yabuki


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based on novel | See All (1) »







Release Date:

9 September 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kaseki  »

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Did You Know?


Official submission of Japan for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 47th Academy Awards in 1975. See more »

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User Reviews

Ashes to Fossils
24 August 2002 | by See all my reviews

When I saw this in its brief American release, I took the word of a Japanese-speaking guy at work, who didn't go to films but had seen the poster, that "kaseki" meant ashes. Heading a film that ends with a teary, agonized exclamation, it made sense; I took his word and never checked. "Ashes" carries a sense poetically similar to "fossil," and might have been subtler: ashes; tears; emotional entropy; fossil emotions. But my old dictionaries offer only "fossil," not even, I think, a homonym, though I could swear that somewhere on the poster was the four-stroke "hi" for fire. "Kaseki no mori," title of a Shinoda film two years earlier, means petrified forest. "Kaseki", which I've been desperate to re-see for 20 years or so is but didn't feel at all long, in crisp, if I recall, perfect color, fitting to the joy, yet ironic to the pall, cast by the story. The Paris sky may have been always or mostly overcast. (But see my mis-remembrance of the character Anne in "The Aviator's Wife".)

A by no means ancient, sixty-ish, businessman goes with a much younger subordinate to Paris on business. There he suffers an attack, diagnosed as terminal cancer. I can't recall whether before or after the diagnosis, he's attracted to the Japanese wife of a highly placed Frenchman, a striking woman who may be nearly as old as he is. The diagnosis gives him courage to befriend her. No one's likely to see this here, but I won't give away the shattering unguessable conclusion.

Actress Haruko Sugimura plays both the diplomat's wife and Death. Subiela's 1992 "El lado oscuro del corazón "is a touchpoint for "Kaseki "and I mention "Kaseki" in that review.

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