a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

The End of Summer / Natsu no Owari / 夏の終り

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250px-The_End_of_Summer_-_Natsu_no_Owari-p1Kazuyoshi Kumari’s adaptation of activist nun Jakucho Setouchi’s breakthrough 1963 autobiographical novel, The End Of Summer beautifully captures the struggles of the barely fictional character, Tomoko (Hikari Mitsushima) with a simple, yet wholly original formalism reminiscent of Ozu. The story, set in the heady post-war 50s into the early 60s , revolves around a love triangle between Tomoko, long playing the mistress to married older writer Shitto (Kaoru Kobayashi) and the new stud who comes into her life, Ryota Kinoshita (Gou Ayano). The period detail, the way rooms and exteriors compress and confound lives, the way Tomoko’s trysts seem so forlorn are brought into stunning focus with the usual brilliant camerawork of Ryuto Kondo. The three leads shine under Kumari’s direction, but Mistushima shows her finest, playing a young woman in transition, finding herself, despite the noise of living and loving in a world of changing mores. Kumari’s a smart enough director to give her plenty of space and screen to allow her and her singularly independent character to fly.

Originally published in EL Magazine, September 2013.

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