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Monday, January 25, 2010

Ozu: The Munekata Sisters (1950)

Munekata kyōdai (The Munekata Sisters) - the story has a great elegance: Setsuko (played by Kinuyo Tanaka) is unhappily to Mimura, an engineer with no job and a bad drinking habit; she had always been in love with Hiroshi but both of them failed to propose when Hiroshi left for France a few years ago; now he is back and Mariko (Setsuko's sister) tries to reunite them; she too is secretly in love with Hiroshi. (I quoted here the summary offered on imdb by phs). It's the world of the heroes of Ozu, living their dramas with that unforgettable Chekhovian restraint.

The script, like in all Ozu's movies after the war, belongs to him and to Kôgo Noda. It's based on a novel by Jiro Osaragi, and here is what Ozu said about this movie (quoted by Donald Richie in his monograph, Ozu, His Life and Films), to be frank, I find it difficult to make a film out of a novel; you're forced into reworking the imagination of the author, and then have to select someone to play a role already created; when I write, I always write with an actor in mind from the beginning, and this helps create the role in film.

However Ozu overcame all these and gave us, with The Munekata Sisters, one of his gems.

(Yasujiro Ozu and Setsuko Hara)



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