成瀬巳喜男 １９６２ 124分 東宝スコープ
Hourouki Naruse Mikio 1962 124 minutes Toho
I wonder if the original novel by Fumiko Hayashi had it, the middle part of Naruse’s 60’s work is punctuated by the Fumiko(Hideko Takamine)’s prose superimposed at the top of each scene. It gives a constant pacing to the story and the filmic temporal-space. Some critic said that made the film told by first-person’s POV, which is very monotonous and not interesting. he mentioned the diary-style is just descriptive and not emotional, so the film was just an ordinary, mediocre work among Naruse films.
Well, we know the “monotonous pacing” doesn’t necessarily mean “boredom” in cinema. How about Bresson’s “Diary of A Country Priest”? That film carried the monotonous structure thru the entire story, but it created rich and absorbing cinema experience. So the criticism above is not true I would say.
Also the depressing tone of the writer couple (Takamine and Takarada) was well depicted by lighting and set decoration. I personally sympathized with them, since I know that pressure!
I saw that film time ago and I quite liked it! But then I have yet to see a film with Hideko Takamine which I don’t like: She’s one of the most grandiose actresses in the story of movies!
It was fascinating to see Takamine age… In fact she actually looked more plump as the elderly Fumiko Hayashi: I wonder if she actually gained weight for the part, or just the make-up was that good.
Thanks for your note again.
Yes, it was quite amazing to see her aging in the film.
The make up, wardrobe, and hair made the difference although I don’t think she actually gained weight. The trailer in 1962 was great to observe that transformation.
My alternative thought was that, with Miss Takamine’s countenance having a nicely rounded shape, it might be easily modelled by the make-up experts.
I admit I’m head-over-heels in love with her acting, which was a late discovery in my life as a film-goer: it was only a few years ago when I first saw her in Onna ga Kaidan wo Ageru Toki (which made me fall in love with Mikio Naruse, Too) and every film I’ve seen after has confirmed that positive first impression: Horouki is a testimonial to her skill as an actress… How different is her Droopy-eyed Fumiko from her radiant -if melancholic- Keiko in the other Naruse film! and she’s great as both!
Now, if you would allow me a question: I’ve seen that Miss Takamine’s autobiographies are quite available at Amazon.jp, but not so much a 1991 book which seems to be about her career, and looks pretty interesting (the link is not Amazon’s, but from other online source):
I’d like to get a copy of that book and I wonder if you know of any online vendors other than Amazon which don’t mind to sell to an European customer
actually the link says it’s out of stock. Also I searched a couple of different Japanese online bookstores. They all say out of stock. I’m sorry 🙂
Hi Atsushi. Thanks for checking it for me 😉