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, June 5, 2018

Farewell to Spring (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1959)

Yusuke Kawazu and Mashiko Tsugawa in Farewell to Spring
Eitaro Makita: Keiji Sada
Midori: Ineko Arima
Yasuo Makita: Masahiko Tsugawa
Kozo Teshirogi: Akira Ishihama
Akira Masugi: Toyozo Yamamoto
Takya Minimura: Kazuya Kosaka
Naoji Iwagaki: Yusuke Kawazu
Yoko Momozawa: Yukiko Toake

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita
Screenplay: Keisuke Kinoshita
Cinematography: Hiroshi Kusuda
Art direction: Chiyoo Umeda
Film editing: Yoshi Sugihara
Music: Chuji Kinoshita

The homoerotic edge of Farewell to Spring is obvious from the outset as five old friends reunite to discover the ways in which life has changed them: The young men seem more touch-feely than is usual in movies, especially Japanese ones. But director-writer Keisuke Kinoshita, who was himself as openly gay as possible in the Japan of his day, doesn't develop or exploit this bit of queerness. Instead, he's intent on exploring moral questions and social relationships: arranged marriages, the weight of Japanese history, political and economic change, and the choice whether to rat upon an old friend when it turns out that the friend has gone bad. Like many of Kinoshita's films, it ladles on emotion in the form of music -- some of it composed by his brother, Chuji -- rather than letting the story carry the emotional freight.

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