FILM: Japanese award-winner next up for Film Club

NOW half-way through its present season, the Eastbourne Film Society offers its first screening of 2011 next Wednesday, January 12, at the Curzon Cinema.

The film, for which seats are available for the general public, is an award-winner from Japan, Still Walking.

Made as recently as 2008 the film is nevertheless firmly in the tradition of the classic films about family life made in that country and epitomised by such works as Ozu’s Tokyo Story.

This new film is set over a period of just a day or two when relatives gather together, but it shows how the past can influence the present and even the future as we observe three generations of one family.

Many a film has featured a gathering for a wedding or a funeral but in Still Walking the special occasion is the anniversary of the death of an older son who had died when trying to rescue a stranger from drowning.

However, for the surviving son the occasion is also one when he wishes to introduce to his elderly parents the young widow he has just married.

He knows full well that they may disapprove of his having chosen a widow, especially one with a little boy from her previous marriage.

This man’s sister lives nearby but the mother has always favoured the son more and wants him to look after her in old age.

As for the father, a retired doctor aged 72, he has always disapproved of the fact that his surviving son did not take up his own profession.

As one would expect Still Walking gives an insightful view of Japanese family life today, but all of us can recognise the stresses and strains portrayed here which can play such a strong role within families and affect the way that things turn out for more than one generation.