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Archive for March 4th, 2009

 twenty-four-eyes

by Allan Fish

(Japan 1954 155m) DVD1/2

Aka. Nijushi no Hitomi

Goodbye, Miss Pebble

p  Ryotaro Kuwata  d/w  Keisuke Kinoshita  novel  Sakae Tsuboi  ph  Hiroyuki Kusuda  m  Chuji Kinoshita  art  Kimihiko Nakamura

Hideko Takamine (Hisako Oishi), Hideki Goko (Isokichi), Yukio Watanabe (Takeichi), Makoto Miyagawa (Kichiji), Takero Terashita (Tadashi), Kunio Sato (Nita), Hiroki Ishii (Masuno), Yasuko Koike (Misako), Setsuko Kusano (Matsue), Kaoko Kase (Sanae), Yumiko Tanabe (Kotsuru), Ikuko Kambara (Fujiko), Hiroko Uehara (Kotoe), Chishu Ryu (teacher),

Though Japanese cinema has its share of acknowledged masters, all of whom are adequately represented in this selection, there are other names worthy of consideration, two of which – Sadao Yamanaka and Mikio Naruse – are covered elsewhere with masterpieces equally unknown for years.  To them we must add the name of Keisuke Kinoshita.  His series of woman’s pictures and sentimental dramas may not, at first glance, seem worthy to rub shoulders with the great works of the first canonical trio named, but the best of them are great indeed.  His best work is a contentious choice, as equally as many would go for the prize-winning The Ballad of Narayama or even more so Carmen Comes Home, but that work is very hard to see in anything remotely approaching a decent print, and though I have included his masterful A Japanese Tragedy, there’s the fact that Eyes is such a great time capsule for the Japan of the time.  David Thomson may be right to accuse Kinoshita of political naivety, but then again, so was Capra.

            A female teacher in her early twenties comes to a remote island in 1927 to teach a group of twelve young children.  She grows to love them greatly and they her.  But when she falls victim to a good-natured prank of the children that leaves her with a limp and unable to ride the bike she needs to cycle to work, things take a downward turn, which reaches its lowest ebb when not only several of  her old pupils but also her husband is killed during the war.  Finally she ends up returning to teaching, indeed she returns to teaching the children of some of her original class.  (more…)

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