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Twenty-Four Eyes (The Criterion Collection)
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SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:New, restored high-definition digital transfer, New video interview with Japanese cinema historian and critic Tadao Sato about the film and its director, New and improved English subtitle translation.
PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay be renowned film scholar Audie Bock and excerpts from an interview with Kinoshita
Though Sakae Tsuboi's 1952 novel inspired a 1987 remake, Kinoshita's film stands as the definitive adaptation. A classic in its native country, this 1954 feature shares the same timeless values as All Quiet on the Western Front and Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Extras include an interview with Tadao Sato (Currents in Japanese Cinema), two trailers, and a booklet with commentary from the director and an essay by Bock. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Top Customer Reviews
The story: a young woman begins her first teaching job on a small island village in Japan, with 12 students in her first grade class (hence the 24 eyes of the title). This opening sequence is charming & gentle, with the worst of the children's problems & woes easily mended with a few kind words & an understanding heart.
But as the children grow older, remaining in touch with their beloved teacher over the years, the harsher aspects of life begin to take their toll. First the Great Depression, then the rise of Japanese militarism -- and the teacher can only watch, sick at heart, as promising futures are dashed & redirected by family & social pressures.
While set in Japan during a specific period of history, the themes are timeless & universal, sad to say. When Japan continues its buildup to the Second World War, the patriotic songs & marches seem all too familiar -- as do the warnings from higher-ups in the school system that their job is to create obedient, patriotic citizens, willing to serve the state without question. It's made clear to our troubled teacher that any mention of other, antiwar possibilities are strictly forbidden, lest she be accused of being "a Red."
Yet she does what she can, telling her male students that she'd be just as proud of them for becoming farmers or clerks or rice merchants, rather than becoming soldiers.Read more ›
The Criterion edition is fantastic and the subtitles are great. This film has my highest recommendation.
Keisuke Kinoshita's movie tackles directly such crucial issues as freedom of speech (if you speak out against the war, you could lose your job), as calling a spade a spade (a war means simply killing people), as the choice between war and peace, between love and hate, between care (for the children) and selfishness and between sincerity and deceit or worse denouncement. His movie makes one understand that there is an all powerful authority which intervenes behind the scene in people's lives, by manipulating public opinion and by trying to turn the population (and mostly its children and young men) into deaf-mute pawns in order to use them as cannon fodder. Another means is starving the dissidents by firing them.
Keisuke Kinoshita's characters are anchored in real life with its poverty (nothing to eat, or no money to go to school), its illnesses (tuberculosis), its accidents and, most importantly, the war and its victims.
Keisuke Kinoshita knows what true art is. It is not an expression of emotions, but the creation of emotions (involvement) into the spectator's heart.
His movie stands in sharp contrast with the actual avalanche of movie products pieced together with Meccano aliens (concocted with special effects) fighting human killers, while both are shouting their immoral gospel of violence and death. A truly cold world, and in no way the warm atmosphere created by Keisuke Kinoshita's school teacher.
`Twenty-Four Eyes' was shot by a director with a big heart, who made simply an everlasting sublime movie. A must see.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
DVD arrived on time as scheduled. Item was packed well and no damage at all. The video was of very good quality and played well.Published 12 days ago by Jose P. Oquendo
Beautiful story. Slow, amazing scenery, very sad in watching how long lives turn out before, during and after the war. Huge fan of Japanese movies, lived there many years. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Joseph C. Martinak
After a blind (!) purchase of this fine film, went looking for other titles from this director. From one year earlier: 'Tragedy of Japan'; a look at a small family struggling... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jrum C.
This is a great movie; very touching. It took me about two weeks to stop thinking about it almost constantly. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Langdon T. Owen
Beautiful emotional film for anyone who loves Japan and the human heart.Published 9 months ago by Pamela Batchelor
I saw this movie around 1974 and was happy to find it in the Criterion Collection. I was actually browsing the Criterion Collection film list, looking for another foreign film and... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Bruce
This film was released in 1954, an excellent film that traces a teacher and her 12 students from the late 1920s to around 1950. Read morePublished 12 months ago by flybytrade
I AM A SUCKER FOR THE JAPANESE "SOAP" BUT OF COURSE THIS IS SO MUCH MORE - TEARS ARE EARNEDPublished 13 months ago by Ralph H Thompson
Great movie from begining to end.I own alot of asian movies and this ranks as one my top choices.Mrs Oishi,pebbles,crybaby played by the talented and beautiful Hideko Takamine. Read morePublished 20 months ago by asianman