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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Kanzashi (aka Ornamental Hairpin) (1941)

During an extended stay at a mountain resort, a young man (Chishu Ryu) cuts his foot on a hairpin while soaking in the springs. He romanticizes the incident as well as the owner of the hairpin. When the young lady (Kinuyo Tanaka) comes from Tokyo to apologize for her carelessness with the hairpin, a tentative romance begins. Hiroshi Shimizu's graceful but bittersweet romance is a delicate piece with both comedic, even satirical, and painful layers. Ryu is a bit naive, a born romantic while Tanaka is fleeing the harsh realities of an unhappy relationship with her lover in Tokyo. It's a bid disconcerting seeing Ryu as a young man in a romantic role in contrast to his older character roles in some of the most famous Japanese films like TOKYO STORY and RED BEARD but he's immensely likable. The film's other characters provide a family nest for the blossoming lovebirds and as well as providing a reacting board. With Tatsuo Saito as the film's cynical curmudgeon, Shinichi Himori, Hideko Mimura and Hiroko Kawasaki.

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