The Men of Tohoku | Chicago Reader

The Men of Tohoku

Shooting in 'Scope for the first time, Kon Ichikawa makes striking expressionistic use of the wide-screen frame in this 1957 folk comedy, set in a remote mountain village where custom forbids younger sons, or yakkos, from marrying and owning land. Risuke (Hiroshi Akutagawa), a yakko whose foul breath drives away even his bedraggled friends, sinks into despair after he's rejected by a widow who promised her husband she'd sleep with all the yakkos. Ichikawa's humor is sly but empathetic, and his Murnau-like blend of fantasy and location shooting establishes a continuum between the villagers' wretched lives and their hopes for longevity, sexual fulfillment, and a life beyond the valley. In Japanese with subtitles. 60 min.

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