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A Wonderful Film for Japanophiles
I give this film 10 out of 10 as even after seeing it more than 10 times it still moves me deeply. I was 15 years old when I first saw this movie in the theater in Seattle. I went back to see it again a couple of weeks later. The first 13 minutes during the credits is my favorite scene, filmed in Kyoto in Springtime. Read the book for more background. The Kimono worn by the female actresses are amazing. The late Juzo Itami plays the father. All the dialog is spoken in "Osaka-ben" or Osaka dialect, which has a softer sound than Tokyo dialect. You can also hear some Kyoto-ben too ("gomen-yasu" said by a servant upon entering in the first scene before entering the room). This film brings me to tears it is so beautiful. At the end of the first scene, when the camera pans out to the cherry blossoms outside and the music starts...it is cinematic heaven! I am waiting for this film to come out on DVD.
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
I feel sorry for John Seal, the reviewer above, for his views on this movie, as well as his views on interracial marriage. I think this movie is excellent, I enjoyed the performances of all the actors and the message is important. Racial prejudice was common in 1967, and the very first interracial kiss on TV was still to come (it happened in 1969 on Star Trek). People needed to hear the message this movie contains, that color and race are not something that should prevent two people who love each other from marrying. I am a white American married to a Japanese female and I am proud that our children will grow up to live in a world where people have tolerance for different cultures and beliefs. It is sad to watch Spencer Tracy in this movie, knowing he died weeks after it was made. But it was nice that he could act with Katherine Hepburn, the love of his life, so close to his death. That must have made him happy.
Anyone in Love with Japan should see this film
I first went to Japan in 1986 as a high school exchange student. I had been studying about Japan for the past 6 years and was very excited to finally go there to see it in person. Wim Wenders was in a similar situation. He had fallen in love with a particular Japanese film-maker Ozu Yasujiru. Wim had been influenced from an early age by Ozu's work, and he decided to go to Japan while in the middle of making "Paris, Texas." During the break in the making of the film in Los Angeles, Wim boarded a 747 and flew across the Pacific to Tokyo, a place he had never been to before. What we get to see when we watch this film, is not only an interview with the cameraman that worked for Ozu for 25 years, but also Wim's personal discovery of Japan. Much of the film is just straight documentary-type footage accompanied with some pretty weird music. Riding in a taxi at night. Riding in a train at night. Following a little boy who is too tired to walk in the underground shopping mall with his mom, and decides to just sit down. The Cherry Blossom Festival picnics in Tokyo, the dancers at Harajuku on Sundays. A particularly fascinating scene is of a company that manufactures the wax food models you see outside most restaraunts in Japan. Overall, a wonderful film for anyone who loves Japan or is just interested in it. I rate this film among Wim's best works. If you can find it, rent it.
Changed my life forever
Was 11 years old when this was on TV. "Oh you should watch this it's so good," my parents said. So I didn't watch it, of course. Then on Friday night I went in to the bedroom and turned on the set and surfed through the channels to see what was on. Came upon the last episode of Shogun and was transfixed. Yoko Shimada, so beautiful as the character Mariko, captured my young heart, and I was forever in love with Japan. Started reading the book the next day, read EVERYTHING I could get my hands on about Japan, went to Japan as an exchange student, and am now married to a Japanese girl. This is a wonderful story, and Yoko Shimada was the best choice for the part, looking so natural in Kimono. No woman ever showed more grace, except maybe Audrey Hepburn...