Saturday, August 25, 2012


On the eve of World War II in Japan four daughters of a recently deceased shipping magnate struggle with family and marriage issues in the beautifully done The Makioka Sisters (1983), a slowly unfolding movie that speaks to culture, class, and conflict. Two olders sisters, one married to a successful banker and the other to a businessman (who is secretly smitten with one of the younger sisters), attempt to find suitable prospects for their two younger siblings, but the eldest spinster is reluctant and repeatedly passes on proposals that do not suit her (some of which are comical), while the headstrong youngest daughter, who makes and sells gorgeous dolls, wants to forge her own path in love and business. Although some of the photography is well done, the outfits (especially the kimonos) are absolutely wonderful. If anyone studies traditional outfits, they should see this movie. I loved the role of the servants too, who while being deferential also managed to be critical and aware of family conflicts. A good insight into the rituals and expected roles of members of a well-to-do Japanese family.

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