This lyrical adaptation of the beloved Japanese novel by Junichiro Tanizaki was a late-career triumph for world-class director Kon Ichikawa. Revolving around the changing of the seasons, The Makioka Sisters (Sasame-yuki) follows the lives of four sisters who have taken on their family’s kimono manufacturing business, over the course of a number of years leading up to the Pacific War. The two oldest have been married for some time, but according to tradition, the rebellious youngest sister cannot wed until the third, conservative and terribly shy, finds a husband. This graceful study of a family at a turning point in history is a poignant evocation of changing times and fading customs, shot in rich, vivid colors. –The Criterion Collection
Born on November 20, 1915, in Ujiyamada, Mie Prefecture, Ichikawa first gained western recognition during the 1950s and 60s with several bleak films, particularly two acclaimed antiwar films, The Burmese Harp and Fires on the Plain.
Ichikawa began his career as a cartoonist, and collaborated with his wife, screenwriter Natto WADA, until 1965. His films are generally regarded as dark and bleak, interspersed with sparks of humanity, and he often intertwines comedy and tragedy within the same story. He also has a flair for technical expertise, irony, detachment, and a drive for realism across all genres. After Akira KUROSAWA’s departure, no other Japanese director has come close to Ichikawa’s level of recognition, the power of his films, and commercial success.
Ichikawa passed away on February 13, 2008. At age 91 (2006), he was still active as a director, completing a feature-length film, The Inugamis, and directing one segment of the Japanese fantasy, Ten Nights of Dream… read more
I found it to be too lengthy at times. I think it had something to do with the long dialogues with almost no respite. But overall, I enjoyed it. The cinematography and the editing are playful and well executed. Even the 80s music is not enough to make it seem dated. The story is nice, with good performances. The milieu is established from the begining and the mood is maintained throughout.
Beautiful and delicate ... The art of kimono design is stunningly presented. The filming of the sakura blossoms falling against the sky is priceless ... I have watched this movie over and over for some many reasons.
Updated through 5/5. A new 35mm print of Kon Ichikawa's The Makioka Sisters opens today at New York's Film Forum, playing through May 12