22 April 2013 | rowerivers
Drama of the Changing Society
After the war everything changed, sort of. The wealthy were suddenly poor and the social titles were now gone. Masters and servants were on the same plane. This is the story of how the Anjos, an industrialist's family, has to deal with it. The father (Osamu Takizawa) is planning a suicide. Oldest brother Masahiko (Masayuki Mori) plunges into total nihilism, not even caring that his maid Kiku (Michiko Ikuno) is in love with him. Elder sister Akiko (Yumiko Aizone) is in her own despair, not knowing what to do about her suitor. Only Atsuko (Setsuko Hara) seems clear-headed and ready to face the cloudy future. It's up to her to keep the family together. The story is based on Anton Chekov's The Cherry Orchard, but it's also a not-so-subtle allegory of postwar Japanese society. The country that thought itself a major player in Asia, treating its neighbors with contempt, was now suffering the consequences of its actions. So will it slide into despair or nihilism, or will it take a more courageous, practical view? Atsuko points the way.