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

Monday, April 2, 2018

The River Fuefuki (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1960)

Okei: Hideko Takamine
Sadahei: Takahiro Tamura
Sozo: Koshiro Matsumoto
Ume: Shima Iwashita
Heikichi: Shinji Tanaka
Yasuzo: Kichiemon Nakamura

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita
Screenplay: Keisuke Kinoshita
Based on a novel by Shichiro Fukazawa
Cinematography: Hiroshi Kusuda
Production design: Kisaku Ito
Film editing: Yoshi Sugihara
Music: Chuji Kinoshita

In The River Fuefuki Hideko Takamine gives a remarkable performance as Okei, a woman who marries into a peasant family on the banks of the titular river. As generations pass in the small house that lies at one end of the bridge across the river, the family's sons are drawn, despite warnings from their elders, into service of the feudal lord in battle after battle. Keisuke Kinoshita has apparently designed the film as an antiwar fable, sometimes giving the monochrome images a storybook quality with overlaid washes and streaks of color, often highlighting just a candle or the fire in a small hearth with a spot of red. It takes the heroism of the samurai film and debunks it, reducing the combat to mere slashing and hacking. Okei endures and ages through the film, becoming the true hero of the story.

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