|7:00 p.m.||Rhapsody in August|
Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1991)
(Hachigatsu no kyohshikyoku). A dread of nuclear catastrophe was not new to Kurosawa, as I Live in Fear and Dreams attest. Kurosawa sets Rhapsody in August in contemporary Nagasaki as four teenage cousins visit their grandmother, a survivor of the blast. Repelled but curious, the teenagers search through Nagasaki for remnants of the event, while the grandmother fascinates them with chilling stories of water-imps and ghosts. The devastation of Nagasaki, at least for the adults, has passed into the realm of safely remote folklore. But it is Kurosawa’s central metaphor, the twisted wreckage of playground equipment, that focuses the film’s intent. The delicately serene Rhapsody in August speaks to today’s youth, who, after all, are not insulated from the errors of their elders.
• Written by Kurosawa, based on the novel Nabe no naka by Kiyoko Murata. Photographed by Taikao Saito, Masaharu Ueda. With Sachiko Murase, Hisashi Igawa, Narumi Kayashima, Richard Gere. (98 mins, In Japanese with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From MGM)