Two sisters, one a dancer and the other a script supervisor at a big movie studio, become embroiled in union activities when a strike is called in sympathy with striking railroad workers, ... See full summary »
In 1933, in Kyoto, academic freedom is under attack and the spoiled daughter of Professor Yagihara, Yukie Yagihara, is courted by the idealistic student Ruykichi Noge and by the tolerant Itokawa. When the academic freedom movement is crushed by the fascists, Professor Yagihara and the members of the Faculty of Law resign from their positions and Noge is arrested. Five years later, Noge visits Professor Yagihara and his family under the custody of the now Prosecutor Itokawa and tells them that he is going to China. Yukie decides to move alone to Tokyo and years later, she meets Itokawa in Tokyo and tells her that Noge is living in Tokyo. Yukie visits Noge and they become lovers. In 1941, Noge is arrested accused of being the ringleader of a spy network and Yukie is also sent to prison. When she is released, she decides to move to the peasant village where Noge's parents live and are blamed of being spies by the villagers. She changes her lifestyle and works hard with Madame Noge ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The scenes of the student demonstrations, filmed outside the gate of Kyoto University, contains fairly older looking students. That was because, aside from the main cast of characters, the rest of the "students" were played by all the assistant directors in an effort to keep costs low. See more »
After the Manchurian Incident the militarists attempted to unify domestic opinions in order to realize their ambition to invade Asia. They denounced as "Red" any ideology that might hinder their policy. Professors and students fought the suppression. The Kyoto University Disturbance was one of their struggles for freedom.
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Not among Kurosawa's better films, but certainly interesting
An interesting film in Kurosawa's canon: it deals explicitly with the WWII era and, alone amongst the man's films, has a woman as the protagonist (played by Ozu's favorite star, Setsuko Hara). Hara plays Yukie, the daughter of a college professor who is fired after expressing leftist ideas. This plot catalyst is based on real events, which happened in Kyoto in 1933, but the film is entirely fictional. Yukie is caught in the middle of the affection of two of her father's students, Noge and Itokawa, who both follow her father's ideals and both protest on behalf of academic freedom. The film spans from 1933 to immediately after the war, in 1945. We follow Hara's hardships as she moves to Tokyo and later on to the country, where she must toil in the rice paddies to make a living. It may be blasphemy, but I'm not the biggest Setsuko Hara fan. In Ozu's movies, I sometimes find her smug and annoying. This is especially true for her most famous performance, in Tokyo Story. She's one of the big reasons I couldn't warm to that film. I think she challenges herself more here than she does in her Ozu roles. Sure, it's a more showy performance, but what Hara shows is the skill to depict transformation. At the beginning, she's kind of a brat, and we see her become a full-fledged woman. Unfortunately, the film itself is not great. Probably for political reasons (United States censors were keeping an eye on the movie industry, of course), but also because Kurosawa might not have wanted to drag an already war-bedraggled audience through more mud than he had to, the film is often historically vague. There's some talk of Japan's actions in China, but nothing explicit talked about. Yukie notably leaves Tokyo shortly before America bombed it to oblivion, killing over 50,000 civilians in their campaign. She might be suffering in those rice paddies, but honestly she survived the war fairly easily. Kurosawa doesn't handle the whole love triangle thing very well, or maybe it's all just a little trite and boring. Both Noge and Itokawa are rather bland characters. If not for the particularly strong final third, where Hara becomes a peasant farmer, I would probably have called it the director's weakest. But Kurosawa really does shine in that part of the film (as does Hara). The melodramatic montages of toil and suffering seem much more up his alley than the earlier scenes.
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