Kabei: Our Mother (2008) - News Poster


Shochiku lines up Yoji Yamada duo

  • ScreenDaily
Exclusive: Japanese studio Shochiku is launching sales on two new projects from leading director Yoji Yamada – a drama based on a Hisashi Inoue story and the director’s first comedy since the end of the Tora-san series in 1995.

The drama, Haha To Kuraseba (literal translation: Living With My Mother) is currently in production with Sayuri Yoshinaga (Kabei: Our Mother) and Kazunari Ninomiya (Letters From Iwo Jima) heading the cast.

The story follows a midwife in Nagasaki who is stunned when she is visited by her son who she thought had died three years earlier when an atomic bomb fell on the city. Japanese release is tentatively scheduled for Winter 2015.

Currently in post-production, the comedy Kazoku Wa Tsuraiyo! stars most of the cast from Yamada’s Tokyo Family, including Isao Hashizume, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Masahiko Nishimura and Yui Natsukawa.

The story follows an older couple who decide to divorce after 50 years of marriage, and the efforts
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Workshops on cinematography and film criticism in Delhi

Workshops on cinematography and film criticism in Delhi
A Master class on the basics of cinematography will be conducted by cinematographer Sunny Joseph on July 24 in New Delhi. Joseph has been the cinematographer for directors like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shaji N Karun and Buddhadeb Dasgupta and has won a national award. Another workshop on Film Criticism will be taken by Kaushik Bhowmik, Senior Vice President of Osian Film Festival on July 23.

These workshops are part of a 3-day programme “Cinephilia and Beyond” which will be held from July 22-24 July, 2011 in New Delhi at the Sri Aurobindo Center of Arts and Communication. This programme will include special sessions and film screenings apart from interactive workshops.

The programme will be inaugurated by film maker Buddhadeb Dasgupta, along with a special screening of his latest film Janala (The Window). The inauguration will be preceded by a key note address on Buddhadeb Dasgupta and his films by Sandeep Marwah, MD, Marwah Studios.
See full article at DearCinema.com »

Japan Cuts 2010: About Her Brother Review

[Our thanks to Chris Bourne for this review]

Yoji Yamada's About Her Brother is his first contemporary drama in a decade, following his samurai trilogy (The Twilight Samurai, The Hidden Blade, Love and Honor) and his previous film, the WWII reminiscence Kabei: Our Mother. However, despite its modern setting, his latest film has the same feel as Kon Ichikawa's 1960 classic Ototo (Her Brother); Yamada uses the same basic story for his film, which he dedicates to Ichikawa.

As in the earlier version, About Her Brother focuses on the relationship between Ginko (Sayuri Yoshinaga), a long-time widow and pharmacy owner who has never remarried, and her incorrigible younger brother Tetsuro (Tsurube Shofukutei), who causes much embarrassment with his casual approach to personal responsibility and his penchant for drinking and gambling. Ginko has put up with Tetsuro's antics ever since they were children, but Tetsuro severely tests the limits of her patience when he drunkenly wrecks the wedding reception
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Asian Cinema bookends Berlin

Berlin -- Asian cinema will bookend the 60th Berlin International Film Festival, with Chinese drama "Apart Together" from Golden Bear winner Wang Quan'an ("Tuya's Marriage") opening the event with its world premiere Feb. 11 and "About Her Brother," the latest from Japanese director, and Berlinale regular Yoji Yamada ("The Twilight Samurai") closing the festival Feb. 20.

"Apart Together" focuses on the reunion of two lovers who were separated when one, a solider, fled from Shanghai to Taiwan in 1949 to escape Mao Tse-tung's troops. The film stars Lu Yan, Ling Feng, Xu Cai Gen and Mo Xiaoqi. The film will screen in competition, giving Wang Quan'an a chance for a second Golden Bear. "Apart Together" will also screen separately in Berlin's Culinary Cinema section on Feb. 17.

"About Her Brother," screening out of competition, will mark Yamada's seventh visit to Berlin. He was last here with the World War II period drama "Kabei: Our Mother,
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Kabei -- Our Mother

Kabei -- Our Mother
CompetitionBERLIN -- Kabei -- Our Mother, the latest blockbuster from prolific director Yoji Yamada (Love and Honor, the Tora-san series) is not as artistically refined as his Samurai trilogy, but hits all the right spots to make you cry like chopping onions. Just as Yamada modernized the samurai genre by making his heroes family men and struggling breadwinners facing professional restructuring, Kabei authenticates Japan's wartime history by showing in quietly chilling detail how foreign aggression aside, the nation also turned on her own citizens who expressed dissident ideas. The film is adapted from the best-selling autobiography of Teruyo Nogami, who was script supervisor for several of Akira Kurosawa's films.

Domestically, Kabei drew largely senior audiences. Judging from the unanimous sobbing and repeated round of applause at the Berlinale press screening, the film might find favor with a more varied age group abroad. Indeed, Yamada's lifelong celebration of ordinary people who live with dignity and forbearance in economic or political hardship could find sympathizers everywhere. Excellent production values deserve some overseas commercial theater release.

"Kabei begins in February 1940, when the Nogami sisters enjoy a meal with their gentle, doting mother and scruffy-intellectual father. At night, the police suddenly arrest father for the "thought crime" of opposing war with China in his writing. His presence of at the meal table is replaced by his photo thereon.

Yamazaki (Tadanobu Asano), Tobei's helpful student becomes a beacon in their dark days of poverty and discrimination. The rest of the film portrays mother's efforts to hold the family together, the daily indignities they suffer and their small assertions of pride. Interactions with a colorful galley of relatives and neighbors demonstrate the decency and mean-spiritedness people are capable of. Scenes of the clumsy Yamazaki crying on a prison visit, an eccentric uncle's gruff defiance of the patriotic brigade, and the community club's sheeplike emperor-worship lighten the increasing soppy narrative development.

Yamada really brings out the tear gas in a final scene set in postwar times, when the bedridden Kabei drops her stiff upper lip to mutter an emotionally devastating line. Regarded as a living icon of Japanese cinema, Sayuri Yoshinaga's performance is above reproach, but it does take major suspension of disbelief to see the 63-year-old actress as a mother of school age kids.

In a time when historical revisionism is making a comeback through films like Yamato and For Those We Love, which romanticize militarism and suicide missions, Yamada's reconnection with the classic genre of hahamono (mother-centered stories) to convey his moral indignation, is a minor version of Keisuke Kinoshita's traditional yet progressively humanist masterpieces like A Japanese Tragedy and Twenty-four Eyes.


Kabei Film Partners/Shochiku Co Ltd


Director-screenwriter: Yoji Yamada

Co-screenwriter: Emiko Hiramatsu

Based on the book by: Teruyo Nogami

Producers: Hiroshi Fukasawa, Takashi Yajima

Director of photography: Mutsuo Naganuma

Production designer: Mitsuo Degawa

Music: Isao Tomita

Costume designer: Kazuo Matsuda

Editor: Ishii Iwao


Kayo Kabei: Sayuri Yoshinaga

Toru Yamazaki: Asano Tadanobu

Hatsuko: Mirai Shida

Teruoyo: Miku Sato

Hisako: Rei Dan

Shigeru Nogami Tobei: Bando Mitsugoro

Running time -- 133 minutes

No MPAA rating


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