Sunday, August 30, 2009

Natsu no imoto

Dear Summer Sister / [Kesäsisko] / [Sommarsystern]. JP 1972. PC: Sozosha-ATG. P: Takashi Ueno. D: Nagisa Oshima. SC: Tsutomu Tamura, Mamoru Sasaki, Nagisa Oshima. DP: Yasuhiro Yoshioka - Eastmancolor - 1,37:1. AD: Jusho Toda. M: Toru Takemitsu. ED: Keiichi Uraoka. CAST: Hosei Komatsu (Kosuke Kiguchi, the judge), Hiromi Kurita (Sunaoko, Kosuke's daughter), Lily (Momoko Kotoda, Sunaoko's private teacher), Akiko Koyama (Tsuru Omura), Shoji Ishibashi (Tsuruo Omura, Tsuru's son), Kei Sato (Shinko Kuniyoshi, a policeman), Taiji Tonoyama (Takuzo Sakurada), Mutsuhito Toura (Rintoku Teruya, singer of Okinawa folk songs). 96 min. Print: New Yorker Films, with English subtitles by Noël Burch. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 29 Aug 2009. - The image of the print has a duped look, the colour definition is off, the print has low contrast, but the subtitles are sharp. - Nagisa Oshima's last Japanese cinema film: from then on, his films were international co-productions or tv films. - One of Oshima's strangest and curious films is about the secrets of Japan. The generation that has experienced the war as grown-ups seems to have a general mutual understanding of many things that remain incomprehensible to the younger generations and, of course, for the non-Japanese. - The sense of being puzzled in a company where the others seem to know. - Okinawa is returned to Japan after the end of the U.S. occupation. - Sunaoko, the 14-year-old girl, is in search of a boy that may be her brother. - The key sequence is towards the end of the picture. - Sunaoko and Tsuruo the apparent brother swim in the ocean, in the red sunset. - Tsuru the mother is with Shinko Kuniyoshi the policeman. Rintoku "the killer" is with with the bald drunkard in white suit Takuzo Sakurada, "the victim". Kosuke Kikuchi the judge is with Momoko "the private teacher", his new bride-to-be. Sunaoko and Tsuruo are "the savior" and "the saved one". - No one will know who is the father of Sunaoko and Tsuruo, the candidates being Kosuke or Shinko. - And if Sunaoko is now pregnant, the father can be Tsuruo her possible brother or another guy. - Further strange revelations: the strong sex drive of the Okinawan women. Okinawa as a center of prostitution during the American occupation. - Shinko Kuniyoshi had been to prison as a student rebel. He raped Tsuru Omura when his best friend Kosuke Kiguchi was in prison. Both left only pregnant women behind them. Both confess everything smilingly, and Tsuru Omura smiles, too. - "Your daughter likes mixtures, too". - It would be interesting to hear the interpretation of this film from Donald Richie, for whom this is "essential Oshima".

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