Love Strikes (Moteki,モテキ)
The Philippines’ “Photography Industry”

Our Mother (Kabei,母べえ)

Our Mother (Kabei,母べえ)

[ Directed by ]
[ Produced by ]
• FUKASAWA Hiroshi
• YAJIMA Takashi
[ Cast ]
• ASANO Tadanobu YAMASAKI Toru
• DAN Rei NOGAMI Hisako
[ Staff ]
• Screenplay: YAMADA Yoji
• Screenplay: HIRAMATSU Emiko
• Cinematography: NAGANUMA Mutsuo
• Production Design: DEGAWA Mitsuo
• Music: TOMITA Isao
• Editor: ISHI Iwao
[ Production Company ]
KABEI-Our Mother Film Partners
[ Distributor (Japan) ]
[ Production Studio ]

Release Date: January 26, 2008
Running Time: 133 min
Genre: Drama,Feature
Color: Color
Screening Format: 35mm
Screen Size: American Vista (1:1.85)
Sound Processing: -,Dolby SRD
[ Story ]
The latest by Yamada Yoji, who received a lot of attention both domestically and internationally for his trilogy of period dramas starting with The Twilight Samurai, which was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 76th Academy Award. Based on Nogami Teruyo’s non-fiction, Chichi he no rekuiemu (Requiem for father), where she wrote about the memories of her family. Nogami Teruyo was Kurosawa Akira’s longtime scripter. The film was officially entered in the 58th Berlin International Film Festival Competition section.
Set in Tokyo in 1940. The war with China continues and the times are bleak, but the Nogami family, a couple with two young daughters, lives an austere but happy existence, centering on the mother, Kayo (Yoshinaga Sayuri), who is affectionately called “Kabei”. One day, her husband Shigeru (Bando Mitsugoro), a literary scholar, is suddenly arrested for violating the Peace Preservation Law. He is suspected of being a thought criminal because of his liberal views amidst the rising nationalism. With the help of one of Shigeru’s students, Yamasaki (Asano Tadanobu), the family strives to live courageously and waits for Shigeru’s return. However, their wish is not fulfilled, as one day in winter, a notice arrives, informing the family of Shigeru’s death at prison. In an ironic twist, this notice is accompanied by Shigeru’s last letter which was sent from within the prison.
[ Official Site ]
[ Premiere ]
International Premiere: Berlin International Film Festival

As in the following of Otōto (About Her Brother 2010), the biographical character and the centrality of the family dimension make the story take on the nostalgic and intimist tone that Yamada prefers to celebrate his humble heroes (see also the finale of The Twilight Samurai, Tasogare Seibei 2002). The drama is never just an individual fact, or restricted to a limited circle of subjects, indeed, in this film is completely immersed in the contemporary history of Japan and in particular in the events that, starting from 1940, involved the empire in the Second World War.
Taken at night in front of the family by the police, Tobei, a scholar and university professor, is taken to the cell under the seizure of a large amount of books. The accusation is that he violated the national security law, being suspected of anti-nationalism and communist sympathies. His own writings are censored, as can be grasped from the very beginning that introduce the severe repressive climate, reaffirmed later by the prosecutor who deals with the case of the protagonist referring to his dubious political positions. But we also breathe through the current moral propaganda respectability and spirit of sacrifice for the nation. Think of the women of the committee against lust who want to vainly convince his uncle, in front of the cinema, to donate his gold ring for the defense of the country.
The point of view is that of Teru-bei, the younger daughter, who moving from the memory of the parent focuses fondly on the figure of the mother, on her dedication to the family and traditional values, she is the real protagonist celebrated by the title of film that incorporates the author’s biography, Nogami Teruyo.
Even Yamazaki, a former student of the professor, offers to help the family through his sometimes clumsy figure, which gives that ironic tone that often subtends the poetics of the director and that dampens, at times, the dramatic intensity, giving breath to the story . A story that leaves no hope for the protagonists destined to succumb in a cell (Tobei), in war (Yamazaki), or on the hospital bed (Kabei), but who looks at the same time with introspection and sobriety at the fatal event, both from a stylistic point of view, which is thematic. The sequence plan and the depth of field in the frame from above that anticipates the arrival of the telegram ready to communicate the death of Tobei; the dramatic tale of the comrade of Yamazaki whose tears alternate with the memories of the soldiers trying to save themselves in the struck ship, which swallows water; the last and chilling sigh of the protagonist in closing. But even the death of Aunt Hisako, put in ellipses and hinted at by the narrative voice, tends to assume a dramatic weight that exceeds the individual case. Moved to Hiroshima loses his life due to the radiation of the atomic bomb.
The empathy that Yamada tries for her protagonists transits, as always, in simplicity and everyday life, in the housework and in the measured dialogues, in their inner movements that transpire through the foregrounds and the discreet scenography, in the domestic portraits where they are figuratively framed by doors and window and not framed by the bars or the moods are interpreted by photography and the play of light, when the human figure is tormented, shrouded in darkness. Kabei listens to the announcement of Japan’s entry into the war, as in the cell, when the glare of external light filters to illuminate the face of Tobei, exhausted, leaning against the wall.
[Katsuyuki Nakanishi]

Katsuyuki Nakanishi
Born on 1984 in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture. Graduated in Vantan Film and Movie Institute major in film director. The fourth graduate of JSC Cinematographers assistant upbringing cramming school. While he was studying in Tokyo, he was also working with Director Shinya Tsukamoto's movie at the same time. After that, he became part of the lighting department of Toei Studios Kyoto, studied under Kiyoto Ando and Takashi Sugimoto. In these movies, he worked as an assistant lighting director with Takashi Sugimoto in "Chacha - Tengai no Onna"(2007) and Kiyoto Ando in "The Fallen Angel"(2010). He work as a freelancer since 2011 and became part of these latest movies as a lighting director of Director Yang Ik-June's ”Shibata and Nagao"(2012), Director Keisuke Yoshida’s ”Himeanile”(2016), Director Kohki Yoshida’s ”ThreeLights"(2017), Director Hiroshi Ando’s ”Moon and Thunder" (2017) and Director Shinya Tsukamoto’s ”Killing” (2018).

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