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Here are two movies I found intriguing and musts to watch.
Yoshinari Nishikoori’s Railways, the third film in the director’s Shimane prefecture-based trilogy.
Kiichi Nakai stars as Hajime Tsutsui, a 49-year-old business man whose mother is stricken with cancer. The situation forces him to reflect on how he’s lived his life thus far, and once he returns home he decides to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a train driver. His family is initially shocked by his seemingly drastic decision, but he’s gradually able to change their minds with his newfound passion and win the confidence of his daughter.
Yoshimitsu Morita’s Meiji Restoration-set drama Abacus and Sword. It was previously going by the tentative English title “Samurai Book-keeper” but according to Shochiku Films, it is now called “Abacus and Sword”. I suppose that title is less inviting of snarky insults from English speakers, but not a whole lot less.
The film is based on the diary of an unnamed accountant who worked for the Kaga Clan around the time of a series of major events which marked the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate and a drastic political shift toward imperial rule.
Masato Sakai plays the accountant, Hachidaime, and Yukie Nakama plays his wife as they work together to keep their lives in order in a time of great upheaval for samurai families. At any other time, their position in society would have brought them great wealth, but as the Kaga Clan falls into financial crisis, Hachidaime is forced to sell off all their furniture and household possessions to hold things together. Through it all, his wife stays supportive and cleverly makes due with what little they have to maintain a frugal, but happy life.