a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Ichimai no Hagaki / Post Card / 一枚のハガキ

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At the ripe old age of 98, Kaneto Shindo shows that he still has the chops, courage, intelligence and commitment to craft a stunning anti-war film devoid of sentimentality, that still reaches deep into the heart.  With Brechtian theatrical strategies, a visual formalism and storytelling reminiscent of the late Ousmane Sembene and a stylized acting style ripped from the golden age of Japanese cinema, Shindo tells a primal tale of a woman, doomed to lose family to the banality of war. Shinobu Otake brilliantly plays the simple peasant woman, who loses one, then a second husband and then her stepparents in the final days of World War II. Caught in the crossfire of cultural expectation and deep loss, she turns her back to the world. In the aftermath of the surrender, a comrade (Etsushi Toyokawa) of her first husband shows up to deliver the unsent postcards meant for her. A new relationship is built, but not without its battles. Ichimai no Hagaki resolves not so much with a happy ending, but with a truce.

Originally published in EL Magazine, July, 2011

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Written by Nicholas Vroman

June 27, 2011 at 12:50 am

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