Seeing this was one of the factors that led to my moving to Japan. I think that this film best captured the intense mood symbolizing the changes of modernization overcoming Japan in the postwar era. I look forward to seeing it once more, but ironically, it is next to impossible to find in Japan. If anyone is aware of how to get a copy of this film over the internet (legally of course) or in a retail store, i would welcome any news. This is my first post concerning what I believe to be an all time classic. I have met few people who have read the book and even fewer who have seen the movie in Japan. Still I think that many others have seen this film internationally. I last saw this film in the mid 1980's. It has been a long wait.
Drama / Romance
Drama / Romance
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The day before Japan announces its defeat in WW2, a very ill Shusaku arrives in Okayama. He meets Shinko, an innkeeper, who inadvertently gives him the will to live as he spies her crying one day. As romance blossoms, the secret death wish he'd brought with him contends with true love for precedence in their relationship. Based on the book by Shinya Fujiwara.—MichelleYeohFan
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Changed my life
Glossily Pictorial Japanese Women's Picture
Director Yoshishige Yoshida's fourth feature film and his first in colour is a sumptuously produced and immaculately directed Women's Picture reminiscent of the Hollywood model both visually and for its wistful music by Hikaru Hayashi. The film is handsomely shot in widescreen in the spa town of Akitsu, where heroine Mariko Okada owns a hotel and - this being a Japanese film - is immediately invited by hero Hiroyuki Nagato to join him in a suicide pact. She declines, but they continue to meet for occasional resumptions of their physical relationship over a seventeen year period despite the fact he now has a wife and daughter.
The film rapidly becomes a Japanese equivalent of 'Back Street', in which Okada belies her early charmingly robust initial persona by becoming more and more morbidly obsessed with Nagato, who foolishly persists with their affair, despite it plainly taking an increasingly unhealthy turn. The film builds to a melodramatic conclusion that takes place in 1962, the same year Wong Kar-wai's 'In the Mood for Love' commences. Both films look wonderful, but while Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung's relationship in the latter is close but never consummated, that between Okada and Nagato continues to be physical yet rashly one-sided, with consequences as devastating as they are foreseeable to anyone except Nagato.
One of the Best Japanese Films of the 1960's
Featuring one of Japan's finest actresses, Mariko Okada, "Akitsu Onsen" is one of the most essential Japanese films of the 1960's.
Joining post-war background, devotion, loneliness and passion, Yoshishige Yoshida creates a remarkably beautiful and lyric film - relying only on the two main characters relations.
Okada, who had already worked with one of the greatest Film Directors in History, Yajusiro Ozu, handles the part with exceptionable beauty and charm.
While Hiroyuki Nagato's performance solid, it has not enough depth for us to take real interest in him - it serves only as a background for Mariko Okada to shine and show her incredible charm, innocence and acting skills.
As most Asian Directors, Yoshida has a sharp eye for framing, and this comes across in every second. Every shot and plane is perfectly balanced, giving the film a beautiful look. Seldom have I seen better framing in a Film. The Japanese once again demonstrate their extreme talent with Film composition and aesthetics. Contrary to what many think, Kurosawa is not the only Japanese director with such talent.
In the end, Mariko Okada and Yoshishige Yoshida (wife and husband) are one of the most defining Director-Actress couples in Film History (along with Yimou Zhang/Gong Li and Ingmar Bergman/Liv Ullman).
I had the honor to meet both Yoshida and Okada at the 27th São Paulo International Film Festival in 2003, and they proved two be two exceptionally humble and pleasant people.
I demand a Criterion Collection DVD right now. Not only of "Akitsu Onsen" but of all Yoshida and Okada films.
Don't miss this one.