A period piece about life in Tokyo in the 1940s, Kebei: Our Motherhas its local premiere tonightat 7 at the Cleveland Museum of Art as part of the Museum's "Friday Night First-Runs" series. It also screens at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23. Here's our review.
Kabei: Our Mother
(Japan, 2008) The idyllic life of a Japanese family takes a sudden turn when the police show up one night and detain the family’s father Teruyo Nogami (Miku Sato) for violating the “peace preservation law.” A philosophy professor who has the works of Nietszche and Goethe in his collection, he doesn’t adapt his ideas to the country’s fascist bent. So after he’s locked in prison, his wife Kayo (Sayuri Yoshinaga) takes on the role of raising her two daughters and struggles to make ends meet. She eventually gets a job teaching at a primary school that pays the bills and learns to endure without her husband, though she never loses faith in him. A well-crafted period piece, Yoji Yamada’s film provides a glimpse into family life during the 1940s. Based on the memoirs of a young girl who grew up during the time period, it shows how tumultuous things were at that time in Japan as nationalism ran rampant, and Communists and other dissidents were considered traitors. *** (Jeff Niesel)