Japan Society NY's new film series Japan Sings! The Japanese Musical Film continues this afternoon with So Young, So Bright, which will be introduced by series curator Michael Raine.
Synopsis (courtesy Japan Society):
Originally published in and sponsored by the "song and movie entertainment magazine" Heibon, this musical comedy starred three of the most popular young singers in 1950s Japan: Hibari Misora, Chiemi Eri, and Izumi Yukimura. The film makes light of sentimental Japanese melodramas as well as American musicals, featuring Hibari and Chiemi as unlikely high school friends who try to rescue apprentice geisha Izumi from the clutches of a predatory businessman. The most popular film with a modern setting made in 1955, the film’s American melodies with Japanese lyrics established the "three girl" film format as well as the "made-in-Japan teenage pops" that eventually became the J-Pop music we know today.
To put the film somewhat in perspective, it came out the year before Rock Around the Clock (March, 1956), which featured Bill Haley and the Comets, The Platters and other groups, and Elvis Presley's film debut in Love Me Tender (November, 1956). The three young leading ladies are each charming in their own distinct ways. Chiemi Eri as Yumi, who has never worn a kimono, is tomboyish. Hibari Misora's Ruri has been raised by her single mother and experiences great emotional conflict when her father unexpectedly enters her life. My personal favorite of the three is Izumi Yukimura, the maiko (apprentice geisha) Pyua-chan. The film ends with each girl performing a solo in a most unlikely environment.
3 out of 4 stars; recommended
Print courtesy of National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.
This screening of So Youing, So Bright is part of the 2016 Globus Film Series Japan Sings! The Japanese Musical Film