Japanese Grandmas

(Kigeki: Nippon no obaachan)

BAMPFA Collection Print


Choko Iida, Tanie Kitabayashi, Chocho Miyako, Kumeko Urabe,

Two rebellious Japanese obaachans (grandmothers) take a day off from their everyday lives in Tadashi Imai’s observant social satire, one of the first to tackle Japan’s emerging aging-population issues. When they first meet in front of a record store, listening to its music, the two grandmothers brag about their offspring; in reality, one woman can’t stand living with her son’s family, while the other just escaped a retirement home. As the two wander about the city like down-market flaneurs, a portrait of a neighborhood caught between generations emerges. The “film produces a sense of closeness amidst the crowds in Tokyo’s entertainment district, sometimes seeming documentary-like in its capture of the pace of the city and vis-à-vis the simple and incisive experiences of the two women” (Desistfilm). Born in Tokyo, lead actress Choko Iida began her career in 1923 and was an Ozu constant.

—Jason Sanders

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  • Yoko Mizuki
  • Shunichiro Nakao
  • Japanese
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 95 mins
  • Shochiku