Saturday, October 31, 2009
Set in 18th Century in Japan, Jihei falls in love with courtesan Koharu. He becomes broken-hearted when he realizes he does not have the money to buy her from her current master. Jihei's loving wife Osan offers to sell everything she and his two children have to keep Jihei happy. He knows he is unworthy of Osan's love but cannot resist taking from her to obtain his beloved Koharu with whom he has made a pact of double suicide so they might stay together after death.
This is a classic tale that has been done several times in film and most often as a play. I love the story and have seen it before in play form but never on film. I was told that this was the best version to watch and well, I didn't like it. The entire story is riddled with emotion and heartache which when played well can draw you deep into the story. Unfortunately, the acting here is way overblown to the point of irritation. During one long scene where Jihei fesses up to Osan and she offers to give everything for him the emotion should be so tense and thick that it makes you uncomfortable. Oh it made me uncomfortable alright, it gave me a huge headache! The characters just kept uncontrollably crying. Loud, whiny, wailing cries that just went on and on until poor Tony, who was not watching with me, yelled from the other room, “Would someone kill those people and shut them up already!” Tell you what, I echoed his sentiment. I really wanted to like this. Maybe next year I'll try a different version.