A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Ballad of a Worker (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1962)

Hideko Takamine and Keiji Sada in Ballad of a Worker
Torae Nonaka: Hideko Takamine
Yoshio Nonaka: Keiji Sada
Chiyo: Yoshiko Kuga
Toshiyuki Nonaka: Toyozo Yamamoto
Miyoko Ishikawa: Chieko Baisho
Mochizuki: Kiyoshi Nonomura
Mrs. Mochizuki: Kin Sugai
Yoshio's Mother: Teruko Kishi
Yoshio's Father: Toranosuke Ogawa

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita
Screenplay: Keisuke Kinoshita
Cinematography: Hiroshi Kusuda
Music: Chuji Kinoshita

Keisuke Kinoshita's somewhat conventional and sentimental temperament informs this film about 16 years in the lives of Torae and Yoshio Nanaka, beginning with Yoshio's return from the war in 1946 and ending with the graduation of their son, Toshiyuki, from university in 1962. The couple scrimp and save to give their only child an education, hoping that he'll have a better live than theirs: Yoshio works on the roads around their village, and Torae is a housekeeper for his boss. The strength of the film lies in its earnest portrayal of ordinary lives -- even Toshiyuki is only a middling student, which means he has to work his way through college, even with the help of his parents. What it lacks is some wit and irony to leaven the rather plodding narrative.

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