Love Under the Crucifix



Plot summary

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Top cast

Tatsuya Nakadai Photo
Tatsuya Nakadai as Ukon Takayama
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932.37 MB
Japanese 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 41 min
P/S 4 / 8
1.69 GB
Japanese 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 41 min
P/S 7 / 20

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by boblipton6 / 10

Drink Your Tea And Do What The Script Tells You To Do

In Japan at the end of the 16th Century, the Shogunate has outlawed Christianity, seized the property of the Christian lords and begun to destroy anyone who professes the Christian faith. One such lord is Tatsuya Nakadai, who is dispossessed and exiled. He is loved by Ineko Arima, the daughter of tea ceremony master Ganjirô Nakamura. Their love has disastrous consequences.

Kinuyo Tanaka's last movie as director is a story of the tyranny and oppression of a ceremony-ridden state, where the ceremonies have lost any connection with their origins. The shogun chancellor's tea ceremony is conducted in a golden palace, bereft of the simplicity and naturalism the tea masters claim is the basis of their practice; the image of Christ is indistinguishable from that of Buddha. Miss Arima's family make speak of love and happiness, but their miens show no emotion.

I found this movie quite lovely, but bereft of any sense beyond exemplifying the insanity of the situation. That may be the point and purpose of this movie, but like many poorer examples of Japanese cinema, it seems as if the story is driving the characters, with those characters little more than marionettes moving in whatever fashion the puppeteers command. This may be the essential tragedy of Japan, but to my Western mind, it seems pointless.

Reviewed by topitimo-829-2704597 / 10

Tanaka's final directorial work has a good story and a bad screenplay.

Besides being possibly her country's best-known actress, Tanaka Kinuyo was also Japan's first female director. She directed six films from 1953 to 1962, this being her final one. The previous three I had seen took place in modern times, but "Ogin-sama" is a depiction of the persecution of Christians in 16th century Japan. Whereas director Oshima Nagisa's "Amakusa Shiro Tokisada" (The Revolt, also 1962) depicted the bloody Christian rebellion of 1637, Tanaka's film takes place in the very beginning of the the persecution. If you have seen Teshigahara's later masterwork "Rikyu" (1989),this movie touches upon the same narrative.

Rikyu (Nakamura Ganjiro),the tea master, has a daughter named Gin (Arima Ineko). They are Christians in a time when it is becoming more dangerous, as Christianity is seen as a foreign influence. Gin is in love with a fellow believer played by Nakadai Tatsuya, who unfortunately happens to be married. The faith strictly forbids second marriages (or divorces, for that matter). So Gin is forced to marry a man she doesn't love, which serves to be a test for her faith.

The film is based on a novel by Kon Toko. It's ambitious. It tries to balance three different narratives. A love narrative, about Arima and Nakadai. A faith narrative, about their worldview. And a political narrative, about the times, and their effect on people. Everything is very interesting but the trouble is, that the film is all over the place. We are constantly taken from one place to the next, to meet other characters, bouncing from love to war, and it's all very uneven. The screenplay can't handle all of the things that are included, and you really get a better sense of the times from a slow-burn movie like "Rikyu", though it wasn't as religious.

The film is about 100 minutes. With the end result, it's difficult to say, would it have benefited more from cutting 20 minutes of the political jargon, or from an additional hour to the duration. I choose to believe the latter. Tanaka clearly shows, that she is not just doing a predictable tragic romance, a light-weight Mizoguchi if you will. The film is clearly going for a bigger picture, and had it been a three hour epic, it could have better fleshed out the supporting characters, given more nuances to the leads, and just explained the time period in a better way.

As such however, it's an uneven bag. The locations, the sets, the wardrobe, and the color cinematography are all well chosen. The lead role by Arima Ineko is one of the actress' best, and Nakamura Ganjiro plays her father in a very tranquil way. I don't know about Nakadai. The guy is my favorite actor, but this screenplay does not give the male lead anything, that could not have been performed by a lesser actor. Then again, during this time Nakadai could make five or six movies a year, so this is naturally not one of his worst, a middle-of-the-road performance at best.

Tanaka's earlier directorial efforts are better constructed movies, but this too was a nice watch, and it's a shame she didn't continue her pioneer work behind the camera.

Reviewed by richardchatten6 / 10

Tea Time

Kinuyo Tanaka's final film as director was also her only jidaigeki. It's ravishing to the eye in colour and 'scope but decidedly inert and talky, there's an awful lot of talk about tea ceremonies, and what passes for a climax is when someone finally drinks some.

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