Rhapsody In August

A beautiful reminder from octogenarian Akira Kurosawa that he’s still the master, despite the mixed evidence of his two previous films. The plot centers on four children spending the summer with their grandmother (Sachiko Murase) in the countryside outside Nagasaki while their parents visit wealthy relatives in Hawaii. Gradually the children learn from their grandmother about the atomic bomb dropped in 1945, which killed their grandfather and made an indelible mark on all the survivors. Learning that his uncle died because of the bomb, one of the Hawaiian relatives, a Japanese American (Richard Gere), comes to visit. The pastoral mood and performances of this film are both reminiscent of late John Ford, and Kurosawa’s mise en scene and editing have seldom been more poetically apt (1991). (JR)

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