Finding oneself in Kôji Fukada’s Au revoir l’été

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Kôji Fukada‘s Au revoir l’été is a sensuous coming-of-age film describing the tension between adolescence and adulthood. There’s also tension between the film’s two titles, the French Au revoir l’été (‘Goodbye Summer’) is romantic, but the Japanese Hotori no Sakuko (‘Sakuko on the Margin’) hints at the subtle subversions ahead.

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Mikio Naruse’s Floating Clouds – post-war wanderings

Floating Clouds is a film by Mikio Naruse describing Japan’s uncertain post-war situation via two lovers, played by Hideko Takamine and Masayuki Mori. The story is told by comparing these two lovers’ situations with each other before and after the War.

The film shares thematic similarities with Naruse’s later film When a Woman Ascends the Stairs, partly because of its shared lead actor Takamine. I briefly discussed both here.

before and after - yukiko

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Hideko Takamine in Mikio Naruse’s When a Woman Ascends the Stairs

On seeing Mikio Naruse’s film When a Woman Ascends the Stairs for the first time, I was taken aback by Hideko Takamine‘s magnificent performance as the warm hearted and undefeatable nightclub hostess Keiko Yashiro, or ‘Mama’.

Takamine’s performance perfectly captured the film’s story of tension between maintaining independence and fitting in with societal expectations, while at the same time achieving one’s own life goals. A life lesson in retaining our own dignity.

1 - i really do love you

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