Children of the Beehive

(Hachinosu no kodomotachi)


Shunsaku Shimamura, Masako Natsuki, Shoichi Gosho, Kiyomi Imoto,

A vagrant group of orphans joins forces with a returning veteran to search for work—and hope—across a scarred postwar Japan in Hiroshi Shimizu’s remarkable work of Japanese neorealism, filmed entirely on location, including in coastal salt ponds, timber-logged forests, and a Hiroshima still marked by the atomic bomb. The film’s location-based realism is further enhanced by the casting, with the children all actual war orphans drawn from an orphanage that the independently wealthy Shimizu had opened after the war. Released the same year as Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thief, the film shows not a debt to Italian neorealism, but a parallel movement, here artfully enhanced by Shimizu’s virtuoso tracking shots and outdoor set pieces. 

Jason Sanders
  • Hiroshi Shimizu
  • Saburo Furuyama
  • Japanese
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 86 mins
  • Kawakita Film Institute
  • Kobe Planet Film Archive

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