女を楽しくするニュースサイト「ウーマンライフ WEB 版」

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • line
  • rss



特集「追悼 高峰秀子」1 二十四の瞳(1954年)【ヒューマン映画】 Twenty-Four Eyes (1954) (in memory of Hideko Takamine)

監督 木下恵介/Director: Keisuke Kinoshita
出演 高峰秀子/Starring: Hideko Takamine



The victory of emotions

I made this special feature before December 28‚ the first anniversary of Hideko Takamine’s death. I have chosen seven titles from her own selection of thirteen films. They are all films that will be long remembered in Japanese film history. This film has the presence like a large tree that doesn’t budge whether it is pushed or pulled; I think we can say that of this film. Something like the guts of one’s feelings grabs you tightly; that grip moves people of whatever country. This film didn’t win the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film Award without reason.

New schoolteacher Ooishi (Hideko Takamine) is appointed to teach at Shoudoshima’s branch school. The expression of the fearful children meeting the teacher is good. Their twelve voices and expressions are rich as they respond “Hai!” when she calls the roll. At first they are cold toward the newcomer who couldn’t even ride a bicycle‚ and though Ooishi complains to the child’s mother‚ she wins the hearts of the children with her friendly nature and energy. The movie progresses deliberately from around this point and doesn’t neglect the slightest detail. Ooishi injures her foot in a trap that the children set and transfers to the main school. The students who have advanced to higher grades come to the main school.

In this period was the second Sino-Japanese War and the Shanghai Incident; the turbulent atmosphere is felt on the peaceful island at the Seto Inland area‚ and the recession beats down the children’s families. A female student is sent for public duty‚ a student abandons advancing in her education because of housework‚ another student’s household goes bankrupt and the family is dispersed. The black shadow of war becomes larger in the background of the children. The students whom Ooishi first taught‚ graduate. Ooishi quits school because she is unable to teach with intention under the oppression of thought. She marries and has three children. The war begins and her husband departs for the front. Her mother dies‚ her youngest daughter dies‚ and her husband is killed in action. The war ends. Of the four boys who left for the battlefield three are killed. One returns blinded.

Ooishi returns to teaching after twenty years. Her students’ children and younger sisters are there. She pays tribute to her former students who were killed in the war by laying flowers at their grave. Her former students throw her a welcome party for returning to teach at the branch school. In the room of the welcome party her gift is decorated conspicuously: a bicycle. She weeps. The blind student points to a commemorative photo and says “I can only see this photo”‚ to which Ooishi cries. She rides the bicycle and uses it to commute to the branch school. She rides it along the long‚ long rainy road. The movie ends as though seeing her off as she rides.

This movie is a great lyrical film that cannot be criticised. The secret of its success is the repetetive singing of the elementary school songs and the simple setting of Shoudoshima. “Koujou no Tsuki”‚ “Umibe no Uta”‚ “Karasu no Ko”‚ “Furusato” are songs that are ingrained in the hearts of every Japanese. These songs evoke these feelings of natural landscape; the ocean and hills‚ the landscape of the gentle Seto Inland sea responds to that. If you’re Japanese‚ this victory of this movie is the awakening of these emotions.