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Tears and Laughter
Women in Japanese Melodrama

October-November 2017

Female stars shone in the melodramas of Japanese cinema’s ‘Golden Age’.

Introduction by James Bell, Sight & Sound

Gloria Grahame


“These characters are portrayed so delicately and movingly on screen”
Hou Hsiao-Hsien on Floating Clouds

Japanese cinema’s ‘Golden Age’ spanned the years following World War Two to the early 1960s, an era when each year brought new masterpieces from directors such as Yasujiro Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi and Mikio Naruse. It was a time of great social change for women in Japan, and what distinguished many of these films was the attention they gave to issues concerning women – frequently contained in heart-rending melodrama that rivalled Douglas Sirk for emotional impact. This Sight & Sound deep focus season includes several titles rarely screened in the UK, and spotlights the magnificent female actors who starred in them – figures such as Kinuyo Tanaka, Setsuko Hara, Machiko Kyo, Isuzu Yamada and Hideko Takamine, who endure as beloved icons of Japanese cinema.

With special thanks to Alexander Jacoby and Ehsan Khoshbakht.

In partnership with

Deep Focus Sight & Sound Japan Foundation

Supported by

Daiwa Foundation Sasakawa Foundation

Retail partner

Japan Centre

Restaurant partner



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