This film will be more appreciated by Japanese viewers. It is a detailed, pull-no-punches film about the life of Okakura Tenshin, a well-known (in Japan) art writer and collector, who died in 1913.
The cinematography is quite good - during the filming, there was a tsunami off the coast, which gave the director some good ocean shots to highlight the drama.
The time of the story is the time in Japanese history (late 1800s) when Japan was reaching out to the West for new directions in art. Tenshin fought to retain Japanese culture, and was forced out of his teaching position at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts. He takes four students and goes off to a remote part of the country to found a school. The story follows him and his students through lean times, and eventually to a country-wide exhibition, where two of his students win major prizes.
Tenshin is shown as a hard taskmaster to his four struggling students. He drives them relentlessly, rarely praising, and letting them fend for themselves and their families, living off whatever fish they can catch.
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