On an island of Japan, an idealistic teacher tries to imbue her pupils with a positive outlook, in spite of her knowledge that many of them will be killed in the World War.
Although Keisuke Kinoshita’s film beat Seven Samurai and Sansho The Bailiff to several top prizes in 1954, it has since slipped into obscurity. A heartfelt plea to release the ordinary Japanese people from the guilt of World War II, the film follows two decades in the life of an idealistic teacher and her pupils on a remote island. Kinoshita uses folk songs and beautiful landscape shots to emphasise the dignity of Japanese traditions, breaking out the hankies for later scenes when military ‘duty’ not only severs the natural bond between teacher and pupils, but destroys the teacher’s faith in speaking her mind.
Sentimental but sincere.