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  • When you have the pairing of Tatsuya Nakadai and Hideko Takamine, you have magic. This absorbing drama spans 29 years of a relationship between Heibei (Nakadai) and Sadako (Takamine) in which they more or less despise each other. The relationship was built on a lie from the beginning as Heibei, returning home from war a semi-cripple (he needs a cane) tells Sadako that her boyfriend Takashi (Keiji Sada), who was still at war, was probably killed. Obviously, he wants Sadako for himself. He rapes her and a pregnancy happens. Takashi comes back not wounded and finds out and vows they will flee together, but this never happens. So, in five distinct chapters, you see this couple's marriage as what it really is: Filled with resentment, regret and overall enmity. There is not one chuckle in this film (in other words, its not over the top like "The War Of The Roses"). However, its so well acted by all three principal actors and it does not have a dull moment. Its about so many things. Mr. Kinoshita wrote and directed, doing a great job. Again, not a fun film, but for a fan of Nakadai, Takamine or even Mr. Sada, it is fairly essential viewing. I recommend it.
  • sodr226 October 2012
    Warning: Spoilers
    Stellar cast (sugar), stellar cinematography (spice) and stellar story (everything nice). These were the ingredients to make the perfect little movie. But Keisuke Kinoshita accidentally added an extra ingredient to the concoction: wtf soundtrack level 9000. And thus you have the birth of Immortal Love, a movie I had high hopes for (especially with that Nakadai-Takamine duet) but only failed short-- much blame due to the out of place flamenco/Mexican regional score which just had to play throughout the majority of this film and it was absolutely distracting and added this cringe-worthy sentimental feeling to lots of potentially enjoyable scenes.

    This is my second Kinoshita film, and it had reminded me a lot of She Was Like A Wild Chrysanthemum mainly for the masterful shots of Japanese landscapes, and only now do I realize he's the same director. I loved the first film, but I found this to be too dragging out. At least it's pretty to look at, and plot-wise it's not that complicated once the film gets going and you get used to the character's names. Boyfriend and cripple guy come back from war. Cripple guy rapes girlfriend have baby, forced to get married. Bastard child grows up problematic for the family, second child is a some totalitarianist and gets in trouble with government, third daughter marries boyfriend's son and cripple guy is like "seriously..." That's roughly it, I'll leave it up to you to get the names. Much of it is heavy family tension, and the constant bickering between the married couple can kinda seem unbuyable, but all somehow concludes in a relieving last minute sigh centred on forgiveness. My favourite scene would maybe be one of the attempted suicide scenes, one with rapids and the other in a volcano- don't know how either of those were shot. I also don't know the significance of the title "Immortal Love"? A film with nothing but unstable relationships? Seriously...
  • net_orders6 August 2017
    Warning: Spoilers
    IMMORTAL LOVE / ETERNAL LOVE / BITTER SPIRIT (EIEN NO HITO). Viewed on Streaming. Restoration/preservation = ten (10) stars; cinematography = eight (8) stars; set designs/locations = six (6) stars; exterior lighting = four (4) stars; Spanish music = two (2) stars. Director Keisuke Kinoshita (who is also credited as the sole writer) provides a gripping, no-holds-barred tale of a 30-year (from the 1930s through the 1960s) totally destructive marriage relationship that neither partner has the courage/ability (or desire?) to terminate. Short of attempted murder, the protagonists are shown developing/perfecting matrimonial torture to a fine art! Strangely, suicide does not seem to be an exit strategy (except for some of the couple's offspring). The Director's ongoing message is very basic: it's never a good idea for a man to rape a servant-girl virgin (who is known to love another) in order to force her to marry him (and, perhaps, an unintended secondary message is that formally arranged marriages may not be all that bad an alternative!). The husband is a crippled war veteran; both husband and wife are emotionally crippled. Often Kinoshita's directing is a bit uneven with scenes stitched together rather than one flowing to the next. Lead actress Hideko Takamine delivers her customarily stunning performance portraying the wronged and antagonistic wife. Actor Tatsuya Nakadai turns in a fine performance playing the husband, but his character mainly serves as a De Facto punching bag for Takamine. Supporting character actresses and actors are across-the-board okay. Cinematography (2.35:1, black and white) is very good (with the wide-screen format usually filled side-to-side). Not so much for scene lighting, especially when characters are photographed in close-up with bright backgrounds: being under lit, they look like silhouettes, and facial expressions are lost in the dark. Exterior and sound-stage sets do the job (you have likely seen them several times before in other Shochiku films). Music is basically just plain weird! It consists of Spanish flamingo guitar, singer, and chorus. The latter pulls double duty as story narrator/observer and source of expository information. All vocalization is delivered in Spanish. Subtitles are close enough for Japanese dialog. Spanish singing and chorus chants are subtitled (in English) with the exception of the opening credits. Most signs/displays are translated. Highly recommended, misleading movie titles and all! WILLIAM FLANIGAN, PhD.
  • Wealthy Tatsuya Nakadai returns from war in Manchuria with a gimp leg. Hideko Takamine tells him she loves Keiji Sada, who is still at the front. Angered, he rapes her, and then forces her to marry him, They spend the next 29 years tormenting each other in that particularly demonic way that only the cinematic Japanese manage.

    I don't know how younger movie-goers will deal with the relationships in this movie, but I saw marriages when I was a youngster where man and wife hated each other with a passion, and that led me to believe that perhaps the title was a mistranslation, despite the fact that this is the only Japanese movie I've ever seen with a flamenco score. Was the love that felt by Miss Takamine for Mr. Sada, despite the fact that he shows up later with a wife and son? Might the word in Japanese actually mean "Passion"?

    All was revealed by the end, but in the meantime, the story, performers and cinematography by Hiroshi Kusuda certainly kept my interest going!