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Archive for August 6th, 2010

by Allan Fish

(Japan 1968 96m) DVD2 (Japan only, no English subs)

Aka. Saraba natsu no hikari

I am the cathedral

p  Shinji Soshizaki  d  Yoshishige Yoshida  w  Masahiro Yamada, Ayusei Hasegawa, Yoshishige Yoshida  ph  Yuji Okumura  ed  Saki Nagase  m  Toshi Ichiyanagi

Mariko Okada (Naoko Toba), Tadashi Yokouchi (Makoto Kawamura), Paul Beauvais (Robert Fitzgerald), Hélène Soubielle (Mary Fitzgerald),

It all began with a church door swinging open, creaking as it does so; a medieval church door in Lisbon with Gothic cloisters dating back to Magellan.  It’s the first of numerous locations, a ninety minute film where the central protagonists travel to Madrid, then Paris, then the Normandy coast, before on to Sweden and Denmark, to Amsterdam, back to Paris and finally, on to Rome.  The protagonists are Japanese, recollections of Resnais’ Hiroshima, Mon Amour, cannot be avoided and not without due cause.  This is very much the Japanese sister film to Resnais’ celebrated art-house romance and one of the pivotal films of Yoshida’s career. 

            Naoko has lived in Europe for the best part of a decade, having left Japan to escape the trauma of a lost mother and brother in the atom bomb dropped not on Hiroshima, but on Nagasaki.  Makato Kawamura is a professor who is making a tour of Europe over the summer prior to taking up a research post in Paris.  His goal is to seek out a church which, he believes, was the inspiration for one built by the Portuguese when they ‘discovered’ Japan in 1453.  He naturally begins his search in Lisbon, but comes to believe that, as most of the great architects of the time were from Turin or Florence, that the church would, if anywhere, be in Italy.  The obvious problem is he doesn’t even know whether it exists at all.  (more…)

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