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Kabei - Our Mother (DVD) (Normal Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) DVD Region 2

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Kabei - Our Mother (DVD) (Normal Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

After the success of his "Samurai Trilogy", renowned director Yamada Yoji draws acclaim and accolades once more with the wartime drama Kabei - Our Mother. Based on Nogami Teruyo's memoirs, Kabei follows a normal, loving family as their innocent, bustling lives are forever transformed by the war. Veteran actress Yoshinaga Sayuri is the picture of dignity and grace as a strong and elegant woman who holds her family together in her husband's absence, while acclaimed actor Asano Tadanobu disappears into the role of an awkward, affable writer who becomes the unlikely hero for a struggling family. Also co-starring Dan Rei from Love and Honor, Kabei is a triumph in humanistic storytelling, breaking hearts with its realistic characters, sensitive depictions, and precious moments of laughter and tears.

Nogami Kayo (Yoshinaga Sayuri) and her husband Shigeru (Bando Mitsugoro), affectionately called "Kabei" and "Tobei" by their daughters, form a small and happy family in 1940s Japan. When Shigeru is imprisoned for political reasons, however, Kayo is left to carry the family as war breaks out in the Pacific. In these dark times, Shigeru's frazzled, kindhearted student Yamasaki Toru (Asano Tadanobu) shows up at the doorstep to offer his help. Devoting his time and heart to supporting the family and fighting for Shigeru's release, Yamasaki develops a strong bond with Kayo, her daughters, and her sister-in-law Hisako (Dan Rei). Kayo stands as a pillar of silent strength through the years of war and strife, taking the trials that come one by one, but not even she can anticipate where her heart lies and fate leads.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Kabei - Our Mother (DVD) (Normal Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) Kabei - Our Mother (DVD) (通常版) (英文字幕) (日本版) Kabei - Our Mother (DVD) (通常版) (英文字幕) (日本版) 母べえ (通常版) Kabei - Our Mother (DVD) (Normal Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)
Also known as: Kaabee Kaabee Kaabee Kaabee Kaabee
Artist Name(s): Yoshinaga Sayuri | Shida Mirai | Sato Miku | Asano Tadanobu | Mitsugorou Bandou | Dan Rei | Toda Keiko | Baisho Chieko | Shofukutei Tsurube 吉永小百合 | 志田未來 | 佐藤未來 | 淺野忠信 | [土反]東三津五郎 | 檀麗 | 戶田惠子 | 倍賞千惠子 | 笑福亭鶴瓶 吉永小百合 | 志田未来 | 佐藤未来 | 浅野忠信 | [土反]东三津五郎 | 檀丽 | 户田惠子 | 倍赏千惠子 | 笑福亭鹤瓶 吉永小百合 | 志田未来 | 佐藤未来 | 浅野忠信 | 坂東三津五郎 | 檀れい | 戸田恵子 | 倍賞千恵子 | 笑福亭鶴瓶 Yoshinaga Sayuri | Shida Mirai | Sato Miku | Asano Tadanobu | Mitsugorou Bandou | Dan Rei | Toda Keiko | Baisho Chieko | Shofukutei Tsurube
Director: Yamada Yoji 山田洋次 山田洋次 山田洋次 Yamada Yoji
Release Date: 2008-07-25
Publisher Product Code: DB-242
Language: Japanese
Place of Origin: Japan
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 2 - Japan, Europe, South Africa, Greenland and the Middle East (including Egypt) What is it?
Publisher: Shochiku Home Video
Other Information: DVD
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1011021992

Product Information

[アーティスト/ キャスト]
吉永小百合 / 坂東三津五郎 / 浅野忠信 / 山田洋次 (監督、脚本) / 野上照代 (原作) / 冨田勲 (音楽)


製作国 : 日本 (Japan)
公開年 : 2008


第76回米国アカデミー賞外国語映画部門ノミネートの快挙を成し遂げた「たそがれ清兵衛」。続く「隠し剣 鬼の爪」 「武士の一分」の時代劇三部作で、国内のみならず海外でも絶賛され、今や世界から注目される存在となった巨匠、山田洋次監督待望の最新作!『たそがれ清兵衛』『武士の一分』の山田洋次監督が贈る、激動の昭和を生きた家族の姿を描く心揺さぶる感動作。日本映画界を代表する女優・吉永小百合、主演作『MONGOL モンゴル』が米アカデミー賞外国語映画賞にノミネートされた浅野忠信、『武士の一分』で鮮烈なデビューを飾った檀れいら、実力派の豪華キャストが共演。

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This film has received 13 award nomination(s).
  • Asian Film Awards 2009
  • Japan Academy Prize 2009
    • Picture of the Year Nomination
    • Director of the Year Nomination, Yamada Yoji
    • Screen Play of the Year Nomination
    • Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Nomination, Yoshinaga Sayuri
    • Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Nomination, Asano Tadanobu
    • Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Nomination, Dan Rei
    • Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography Nomination
    • Outstanding Achievement in Film Editing Nomination
    • Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction Nomination
    • Outstanding Achievement in Music Nomination
    • Outstanding Achievement in Sound Recording Nomination
    • Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction Nomination
All Award-Winning Asian Films

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Professional Review of "Kabei - Our Mother (DVD) (Normal Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)"

June 23, 2008

Yoji Yamada's Kabei - Our Mother is a nominal tearjerker, but it surprises in a subtle and yet very compelling way. This is the based-on-real-life story of Kayo Nogami (the pitch-perfect Sayuri Yoshinaga), affectionately called "Kabei" by her family. The entire family possesses these pet names, with Kabei being a combination of mother (o-KA-asan) and "bei", while father Shigeru is shortened to Tobei (from the Japanese word for father, "o-TO-osan"), and their daughters' names Teruyo and Hatsuko abbreviated to Terubei and Hatsubei. The family lives an austere existence in pre-World War II Japan, with rising nationalism having a direct and unfortunate effect on Shigeru (Mitsugoro Bando). A writer and scholar, Shigeru is arrested for radical (i.e., non-conformist) thinking and jailed without trial, placing immediate hardships on Kayo and their two daughters.

The Nogami family's problems allow the audience to learn just who Kayo is, and why her story matters. After getting over the shock of Shigeru's arrest, the family has to attend to practical things, like making ends meet, plus they must endure the quiet disapproval and judgement of outsiders. Luckily, Kayo has the help of Toru Yamazaki (Tadanobu Asano), a student of Shigeru's, who shows up on the Nogami family doorstep to offer a helping hand. Affectionately called Yama-chan, the clumsy but lovable Yamazaki enables Kayo to cope with her mounting difficulties, which start with gossip and money, and grow to include Shigeru's continued incarceration, the children's growth and maturation, Kayo's estrangement from her police chief father (Umenosuke Nakamura), a visit from layabout Uncle Senkichi (Tsurube Shofukutei), and Japan's continued march to war. Through it all, Kayo must keep calm, attending to the needs of her daughters and her husband while making required sacrifices.

It's the sacrifices that matter in Kabei. Many are small but acute, such as Kayo giving up her pride or anger in the face of battles that she cannot win. When the authorities criticize her husband, Kayo must remain quiet and subservient, even hitting Teruyo for misbehaving in front of men that she obviously detests. Likewise, Japan's growing nationalism is subtly criticized, with Kayo quietly but obviously tolerating the blind allegiance of her neighbors. This theme of war's social effects is present in Kabei, but it seems more a product of the situations and characters rather than an overriding point of view. Some characters in the film are quite vocal in their criticism for Japan's war-fueled nationalism, and the unfolding events demonstrate the human cost of a nation at war.

However, Yamada doesn't appear to be registering his own overt disapproval, and seems more interested in his characters than their historical context. In portraying his characters, Yamada demonstrates how regular people change - both positively and negatively - in such a charged climate. Kabei succeeds in large part because Yamada keeps his focus human and his anti-war messages rooted in character. Many of his characters are against the government's local handling of the war, but they seem like people with aligned beliefs and not mouthpieces for a political agenda. Fledging filmmakers could learn a lot from Yamada; he lets his characters and their trials define the story, and leaves the filmmaker's hand conspicuously out of sight.

He may have done too good a job. At first, second, and even third glance, Kabei appears to be just about how one woman bravely and resolutely fights the good fight. The war, unjust authority, and other mounting obstacles impact her life, and yet she finds the will to take care of her family and survive. The struggle is not easy; Kayo falls ill from exhaustion, and Shigeru's situation seems to worsen over time. The film's seemingly obvious message is that Kayo should be respected because she's required to shoulder so much. That point is well represented, but Kayo takes on something more pressing and emotionally acute than the burden of unfortunate circumstance. She also shoulders the burden of her personal desires and hopes, as she sacrifices them in order to fulfill her duty, responsibility, and maternal love.

Ultimately, it's not the sacrifices that make Kabei an accomplished film, but the understandable and even selfish regret hidden behind them. Yamada delivers a quiet, but emotionally devastating conclusion to his film by showing us that Kayo's choices - even those made out of love - are not redemptive or affirming of traditional values. Tearjerkers usually lean on safe, expected emotions and ideas to start the waterworks, but Kabei features an ending that's not a positive affirmation, nor is it what people likely expect from a commercial, family-centric drama. The film ends on an affecting, but somewhat off-putting note, and without the expected message that Kayo's sacrifices throughout the years were necessarily worth it. There's silent, bittersweet fault assigned, where nobody is to blame and yet everybody is. Lives change, people change, and we sometimes go to the grave with decades-old regret that we can never share with others. There's something terribly sad and marvelously affecting about that theme, and it makes Kabei - Our Mother potentially unsatisfactory and also unexpectedly sublime.

by Kozo -

This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of

Customer Review of "Kabei - Our Mother (DVD) (Normal Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)"

Average Customer Rating for this Edition: Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10 (1)

Kevin Kennedy
See all my reviews

August 31, 2008

1 people found this review helpful

An instant classic from Yamada Yoji Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
Director Yamada Yoji scores again with this profound portrait of a mother's sacrificial love for her family. Veteran actress Yoshinaga Sayuri plays Kayo, known to her family as Kabei, a strong, loving family whose husband is thrown in prison for his leftist writings during Japan's occupation of China. Kabei is left alone to care for her two children, work as a teacher, and support her husband, who suffers miserably in his imprisonment. No one is better than Yamada at revealing the daily struggles, minor triumphs, and deep disappointments of Kabei's hard life. The film looks beautiful and features wonderfully modulated performances by the entire cast. The two child actresses who play Kabei's children are astonishingly good. But this film belongs to Yoshinaga Sayuri, who actually was an odd choice to play the lead. She plays a woman who almost certainly is at least two decades younger than Miss Yoshinaga's actual age, yet Miss Yoshinaga breathes a life and depth into the role that a younger actress might not have been able to achieve. Very, very highly recommended.
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