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Archive for September 3rd, 2010

by Allan Fish

(Japan 1939 146m) DVD2 (Japan only)

Aka. Kodomo so shiki

The vaulting horse and the swing

 d/w  Hiroshi Shimizu  novel  Joji Tsubota  ph  Masao Saito, Yuharu Atsuta  m  Senji Ito  art  Minoru Esaka 

Takeshi Sakamoto (Grandfather), Fumiko Okamura (Grandmother), Reikicki Kawamura (Father), Mitsuko Yoshikawa (Mother), Masao Hayama (Zenta), Yun Yokoyama (Sampei), Kinuko Wakamizu (Mitsuko), Shinichi Himori (Shunichi), Seiji Nishimura (Rokai),

On the release of the second DVD boxset of Hiroshi Shimizu’s works in 2008, much of the interest centred around the release of his Children in the Wind.  No doubt that it’s a very fine film, and yet somehow this later effort resonated stronger within me and upon repeat acquaintance gets better and better on every new viewing.  It is not merely one of Shimizu’s greatest, but one of the best pre-war Japanese films.

            It follows the fate of a pair of brothers, Zenta and Sampei, who live with their mother and father on a milk ranch in the Japanese countryside.  Their lives consist of swimming, spending time with their father’s cows, and playing with the local boys.  The problems begin when they find out that the old man who has been visiting the area around their ranch is their grandfather, who disowned their mother for marrying against his wishes.  When their father grows ill, though, and goes to hospital, the grandparents take their daughter and grandchildren back into their care and, when the father dies, they return to live with them.  To complicate matters further, their mother’s childhood friend is unaware that her husband is plotting to bring down her friend’s father’s business, and when the grandfather takes on his son-in-law’s debts, he’s in risk of losing everything, including his own company. (more…)

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