Jiyuu Renai (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) DVD Region 2
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YesAsia Editorial Description
|Product Title:||Jiyuu Renai (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) 自由戀愛 (DVD) (英文字幕) (日本版) 自由恋爱 (DVD) (英文字幕) (日本版) 自由戀愛 Jiyuu Renai (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)|
|Artist Name(s):||Hasegawa Kyoko | Kimura Yoshino | Toyokawa Etsushi | Kagawa Kyoko | Yuujin | Kunimura Jun | Machida Shion | Seto Catherine | Yamazaki Seisuke 長谷川京子 | 木村佳乃 | 豐川悅司 | 香川京子 | 遊人 | 國村準 | Machida Shion | 瀨戶Catherine | 山崎清介 长谷川京子 | 木村佳乃 | 丰川悦司 | 香川 京子 | 游人 | 国村准 | Machida Shion | Seto Catherine | Yamazaki Seisuke 長谷川京子 | 木村佳乃 | 豊川悦司 | 香川京子 | 遊人 | 國村隼 | 街田しおん | 瀬戸カトリーヌ | 山崎清介 Hasegawa Kyoko | Kimura Yoshino | Toyokawa Etsushi | Kagawa Kyoko | Yuujin | Kunimura Jun | Machida Shion | Seto Catherine | Yamazaki Seisuke|
|Director:||Harada Masato 原田真人 原田真人 原田眞人 Harada Masato|
|Publisher Product Code:||BBBJ-5889|
|Country of Origin:||Japan|
|Picture Format:||NTSC What is it?|
|Region Code:||2 - Japan, Europe, South Africa, Greenland and the Middle East (including Egypt) What is it?|
|Shipment Unit:||1 What is it?|
|YesAsia Catalog No.:||1004095337|
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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features
Professional Review of "Jiyuu Renai (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)"
On paper the premise for Masato Harada's Jiyuu Renai (a.k.a. Bluestockings) sounds, frankly, less than exciting. A costume drama set in early 1920s Tokyo, the film explores the beginnings of Japan's women's movement, the pressures between tradition and modernization, the West and the East, by exploring the relationships within a lover's triangle. It's the sort of highly politicized content that, in lesser hands, can amount to little more than a dogmatic pounding for the audience, but Harada turns in a finely wrought drama driven by a trio of remarkably full-blooded performances. Though there are a pair of missteps late on where Harada steps onto the soapbox, the film, on the whole, manages to embody the politics within the textured layers of its characters.
The film opens in an all girls' school, with the students gathering for club pictures as they come to what must be close to the end of their school careers. And amidst all the bubbly silliness that comes from packing a room full of high school girls, there is a remarkably serious thread. New ideas about gender roles are beginning to surface and the girls have pledged to become "new women", women who work to support themselves and, if they marry at all, marry for love rather than social pressure. These girls want to change the way society thinks.
But, of course, it's much easier to be an idealist when someone else is paying your freight through school, and much more difficult once you encounter the realities of life. The story jumps ahead in time and picks up with Akiko, one of those school girls, being woken from her sleep by a minor earthquake - a recurrent theme - and latching on to her husband, Yuichiro, for support. Though she does appear to love her husband wholeheartedly, the fact is that for all her talk of independence and self determination, Akiko has entered into an arranged marriage. Her husband comes from an incredibly wealthy family and she seems now perfectly happy to spend her days idly spending her husband's money.
A chance encounter with a school friend at the theater re-introduces Akiko to Kiyoko, a school friend who has stayed truer to her convictions and has had a far more difficult life as a result. When Kiyoko learned that her husband was keeping a mistress she divorced him and, as a result, has been forced to return to live with her father, poor and alone. Blissfully unaware of just how insensitive she is in flaunting her wealth, Akiko bounces her way into Kiyoko's life and arranges for her to take a job in her husband's corporation, a decision she quickly comes to regret when rumors circulate that Kiyoko has become Yuichiro's mistress.
Working from his own script, Harada has created a convincing picture, one seldom seen on screen, of Japan in transition. The Japan of the twenties is a nearly even fusion of Western and traditional influences, the old generation fully traditional and the young generation opting largely for Western dress and food. The old value continuity and family obligations, the young self-determination. The characters are a compelling stew of forces in conflict, desires pulling them in all directions, and those conflicts drive the drama of the piece. Harada has an assured camera and shoots beautiful film, but this is the sort of thing that succeeds or fails entirely on the strength of the cast and every one of his actors are superb, particularly those playing Yuichiro and Kiyoko, who both turn in beautifully layered performances. As you watch you can't help but become frustrated by how easily Yuichiro escapes criticism for his misbehaviour, but this is, of course, part of the point. The film takes on added depth as he gradually comes to understand the consequences of his actions and, being a good man trying to find his way in a changing world, take responsibility for them.
As strong a film as it may be, Bluestockings - the title is a reference to the British woman's movement - is so specifically Japanese, featuring a lesser known director and actors little known outside their home country, that the chances of it receiving a release outside Japan seem unlikely, making the Japanese DVD the only real option. Luckily, it's a good one. The transfer is good and the subtitles clear.
While it is not the sort of thing that draws festival raves and global attention, Bluestockings is a very well-crafted film, one that captures a fascinating time period in Japanese history, and one well worth a look.
Review By Todd Brown - Twitchfilm.net
Customer Review of "Jiyuu Renai (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)"
See all my reviews
February 9, 2006
Like most of the Japanese movies, this one is done
with style and excellent taste.
It's essentially a movie about women in that era in transition and seeking more freedom and independence from their traditional roles. It's also a love story of one very wealthy and kind man who loves two women.
I find the black/white newsreel depicting the big
Tokyo earthquack interesting to watch as part of the
story and the quick comments about the attack of the
Koreans as rioters by the Japanese as well as the discrimination of the Japanese and Asians in the US
gave a historical flavor of that time period.
I enjoyed the movie very much. All actors are
excellent. Toyokawa Etsushi can wear anything and looks