WOMEN IN JAPANESE MELODRAMA Elegy of the North Banka Japan 1957. Dir Heinosuke Gosho. With Yoshiko Kuga, Mieko Takamine, Masayuki Mori, Fumio Watanabe. 130min. 16mm. EST An actress who worked with many of the greatest directors of Japanese cinema’s Golden Age, Yoshiko Kuga gives a performance of great sensitivity in Gosho’s exquisitely shot melodrama. Swooning romance meets Modernist alienation as handicapped Reiko (Kuga) @BFI 53 THU 2 NOV SUN 5 NOV 18:05 NFT2 14:30 NFT2 SUN 29 OCT FRI 3 NOV 15:45 NFT2 18:15 NFT2 SUN 5 NOV WED 8 NOV 20:00 NFT2 18:15 NFT2 becomes infatuated with an architect (Mori) whose marriage has grown cold, and whose wife (Takamine) is having an illicit affair with a student. Floating Clouds Ukigumo Japan 1955. Dir Mikio Naruse. With Hideko Takamine, Masayuji Mori, Mariko Okada, Isao Yamagata. 123min. 35mm. EST. 12A Hideko Takamine was Naruse’s great muse as Setsuko Hara was Ozu’s and Kinuyo Tanaka was Mizoguchi’s, and this searing tale of amour fou is their most famous collaboration. Shifting back and forth in time, the film reveals the tumultuous love affair between Yukiko (Takamine) and married Kengo (Mori), who meet during the war, but find they can live neither with nor without one another in peacetime. The Eternal Breasts Chibusa yo eien nare Japan 1955. Dir Kinuyo Tanaka. With Yumeji Tsukioka, Ryoji Hayama, Yuko Sugi, Junkichi Orimoto, Choko Lida, Masayuki Mori, Hiroko Kawasaki. 110min. 35mm. EST. Part of the collection of National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo Not only one of Japan’s greatest actresses, Kinuyo Tanaka was also the director of six features, including this powerful, frank film about the poet Fumiko Nakajo, who died of breast cancer aged 31 in 1954. Tanaka brings an unmistakeably female perspective to recounting Nakajo’s life – from divorce through single motherhood, illness and her growing independence in life and love as her literary reputation grows.
BFI Southbank Guide Oct-Nov 2017
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