Some Big History Behind The Little House
This week marks a somber anniversary. Seventy years ago, atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, changing life in that country – and the world – forever and bringing an end to World War II. One of Japan’s most eloquent filmmakers, 83-year-old Yôji Yamada, lived through the tumultuous years of Japan’s buildup to war and its aftermath; he’s since evolved into one of its foremost chroniclers of domestic family life and how tradition and change co-exist, sometimes imperceptibly, sometimes monumentally. His cinematic chamber piece, The Little House (Chisai Ouchi) (2014), speaks volumes in hushed tones inside and outside the title domicile as a family’s secrets – across generations from the 1930s to the present day – come to light. “Although it deals with huge real-world events—the rape of Nanking, Pearl Harbor, the American bombing of Tokyo,” Twilight Time’s Julie Kirgo writes in her perceptive booklet essay, “it is the way in which its small-time personages react to and persevere through (and, on occasion, even ignore) the big stuff that gives The Little House its wrenching potency.” Yamada’s earlier 2002 masterwork The Twilight Samurai is already available on TT hi-def Blu-ray. The Little House arrives next week -- ripe for discovery.