Carmen Comes Home

Japan's first color film, this feminist empowerment comedy showcases the more populist side of both director Keisuke Kinoshita (Twenty-Four Eyes) and actress Hideko Takamine, who stars as the titular character, a big-city “entertainer” (or stripper) who returns home to her small rural town, to the shock and bemusement of the villagers. "Kinoshita's best films often reflect his sense of the ridiculous," write Joseph Anderson and Donald Richie in the seminal The Japanese Film. "The essential incongruity of a situation rarely escapes him." Carmen, the country girl turned city stripper who "lives for her art," is the consummate example of Kinoshita's satire, which is directed not at Carmen but at the society of philistines who continually attack her. The Carmen films revealed Hideko Takamine-so often Kinoshita's quintessential tragic heroine-to be an accomplished comedienne, her portrayal of Carmen at once endearing and barbed.

Carmen Comes Home is also playing on Thursday, July 7.

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