With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Thursday, October 15, 2015

HER BROTHER reviewed; screening at Japan Society this Saturday afternoon, October 17th

Japan Society NY
Kon Ichikawa Restorations
Her Brother © Kadokawa Corporation.
Her Brother / Otôto
Directed by Kon Ichikawa
With Keiko Kishi, Hiroshi Kawaguchi,
Kinuyo Tanaka, and Masayuki Mori
Japan, 1960, 98 minutes, 35mm, color

When: Saturday, October 17, 2015 at 4:00 pm
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC

Synopsis (courtesy Japan Society):

In writing about Her Brother, Ichikawa asks "...if one starts with the premise that everyone is essentially alone, then what follows?" Based on the autobiographical novel by Aya Koda, Ichikawa's film is a moving, restrained family melodrama told from the viewpoint of Gen (Keiko Kishi), a lonely yet resilient young woman obligated to her distant writer father (Masayuki Mori) and invalid, devoutly Christian stepmother (Kinuyo Tanaka). Unable to make a life for herself in such a cold and oppressive household, Gen is left to serve as a surrogate mother for her over-indulged, delinquent younger brother Hekiro (Hiroshi Kawaguchi), to whom she remains lovingly devoted. Her Brother was recognized at the Cannes Film Festival with a Special Distinction by the C.S.T. Ex-aequo and given the Kinema Junpo Award for Best Film and Best Director in 1961.

Gen (Keiko Kishi, left) and her brother Hekiro (Hiroshi Kawaguchi)


Of the three Ichikawa films being shown by Japan Society this weekend, Her Brother is my least favorite. This has more to do with how outstanding the other two offerings are than any faults of Her Brother, although it is somewhat of a one note melodrama. Keiko Kishi (Kwaidan and The Makioka Sisters) gives a fine performance as the long-suffering older sibling, and the others in the cast are also good in their roles.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; recommended. Unless you are totally turned off by melodramas, Her Brother (also known as Younger Brother or simply Brother) is certainly worth seeing.

This screening of Her Brother is part of the three film series Kon Ichikawa Restorations

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