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kurosawa instant story gere

Hachigatsu no Kyoshikyoku

This 1992 Kurosawa film was regarded as minor and uncharacteristic by some, yet I find it to be one of the most moving and heartfelt pictures of his career. The basic story is contemporary; a group of teenagers take a trip to Nagasaki to see their aging grandmother, whose husband died in the atomic bombing of the city. As her story is gradually and tenderly revealed, Kurosawa shows us and the children many remaining physical manifestations of the bombing, including the melted, twisted bars of what was once a children's jungle gym, and which now serves as a formal memorial—a stark, powerful reminder of what was lost in an instant. The superb cast includes Richard Gere in a small but pivotal role, but the most important and memorable “performers” in Rhapsody in August may be the colony of ants that climb silently up the stem of a rose in a sequence near the film's conclusion; it's a moment so inspired and so breathtakingly expressive that it reminds us in the same instant of both man's power to destroy, as well as the artist's power to fashion hope from the ashes.

NEXT STOPI Live in Fear, Black Rain (Imamura), Ikiru

1991 (PG) 98m/C JP Sachiko Murase, Narumi Kayashima, Hisashi Igawa, Richard Gere; D: Akira Kurosawa; W: Akira Kurosawa; C: Takao Saito, Masaharu Ueda; M: Shinichiro Ikebe. VHS, LV ORI

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