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Friday, July 10, 2015

Sasame Yuki (aka The Makioka Sisters) (1983)

Set in Osaka, Japan in the years immediately preceding WWII. The two eldest sisters (Keiko Kishi, Yoshiko Sakuma) of the surviving Makioka clan attempt to find a suitable husband for the third sister (Sayun Yoshinaga) which proves difficult because of a family scandal involving the youngest sister (Yuko Kotegawa). Based on the novel by Jun'ichiro Tanizaki, Kon Ichikawa's lovely film focuses on tradition and family pride which will all soon change as the specter of WWII hovers over the story as post war Japan will bring major changes in the Japanese lifestyle. While perhaps not as affecting as one would like, Ichikawa brings a ceremonial grace to the narrative as well as a visual sumptuousness. At first, I had some difficulty keeping the sisters straight but the wonderfully detailed performances of the four actresses soon brought a clarity that made it easy to follow. Only one complaint and that is the appalling (and I mean hideous) synthesizer score that demeans the film. With Juzo Itami, Koji Ishizaka and Yukari Uehara. 

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