• (c) Kokusai Hoei

  • (c) Kokusai Hoei

Where Chimneys Are Seen

(Entotsu no mieru basho)

Imported 35mm Print


Kinuyo Tanaka, Ken Uehara, Hideko Takamine, Hiroshi Akutagawa,

Gosho’s most celebrated film in both Japan and the West, Where Chimneys Are Seen is perhaps the most compelling example of his concern for, and insights into, the everyday lives of lower-middle-class people. Based on Rinzo Shiina’s novel of the absurd, the film depicts the lives of two couples against the backdrop of Tokyo’s growing industrialization during the 1950s. Ken Uehara and Kinuyo Tanaka portray a tabi salesman and his lonely wife, whose lives—along with those of their two timidly amorous lodgers (Hideko Takamine and Hiroshi Akutagawa)—are disrupted, and finally transformed, by the appearance of an abandoned baby on their tenement doorstep. A mysterious group of chimneys that appear as one, two, three, or four smokestacks, depending on the angle from which they are viewed, serves as a metaphor—democratically shared by characters and filmmaker alike—for life. The people living in the vicinity develop a certain affection for the anomaly, and for the philosophy it suggests. “Life is whatever you think it is,” asserts one character. “It can be sweet or bitter, whichever you are.”

  • Hideo Oguni
  • Rinzo Shiina
  • Mitsuo Miura
  • Japanese
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 108 mins
  • The Japan Foundation
  • Kokusai Hoei Co.