The Barbican is running an exhibition about Japanese homes and domestic architecture called The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945. It began on March 23rd and lasts until June 25th. There will be films screened as part of the exhibition. I’ve already written about Princess Kaguya, An Autumn Afternoon, Woman in the Dunes, and Sogo Ishii’s (now known as Gakuryu Ishii) The Crazy Family. The most recent film was Studio Ghibli’s 1995 title Whisper of the Heart and Ghibli leads the way again with Only Yesterday which will be screened on June 24th at 16:00.
Here is the information:
おもひでぽろぽろ 「Omohide Poro Poro」
Release Date: July 20th, 1991
Running Time: 111 mins.
Director: Isao Takahata
Writer: Isao Takahata (Screenplay), Hotaru Okamoto, Yuuko Tone (Original Manga)
Starring: Miki Imai (Taeko), Toshiro Yanagiba (Toshio), Youko Honna (Taeko (child)), Mayumi Iizuka (Tsuneko), Mei Oshitani (Aiko), Megumi Komine (Toko),
While I prefer the more fantastical side of Studio Ghibli’s output, I recognise that Isao Takahata’s realistic dramas are pretty powerful. I recognise them as powerful because I cried hard when watching them and Only Yesterday, a film aimed at evoking nostalgia in Japanese women had me in tears in its final scenes. According to Wikipedia, the film’s power was pretty great:
“The film was a surprise box office success, attracting a large adult audience of all genders and becoming the highest-grossing Japanese film of the year in the country.”
Also according to Wikipedia, and here’s interesting film facts and not just my opinion, Takahata had troubled adapting the episodic stories of the source manga and so he created the framing narrative of the main character travelling to Yamagata Prefecture and falling in love. Here is a trailer to give you a taste as to why audiences loved it:
Synopsis from the Barbican: A 27 year old office worker, Taeko Okajima (Miki Imai), leaves the city for her first extended trip outside of Tokyo.
Visiting her sister in rural Yamagata, she daydreams about her younger self and is forced to reflect on her hectic life when she meets a handsome young farmer.