Kon IchikawaJapan140 minutes1983ColourJapanese
Based on a novel by Jun'ichiro Tanizaki, The Makioka Sisters was the greatest success of Kon Ichikawa's late career, becoming an arthouse hit in North America. Set just before the beginning of the Second World War, this plush, acidulous saga recounts the story of an Osaka shipbuilder's family that is trying to marry off one of its four daughters, the clan's privilege and insularity allowing them to focus on domestic issues and the waning rituals of courtship while ignoring the portents of cataclysm all around them. Aglow with cherry blossoms and brocade kimonos (a kimono specialist was among the film's many consultants), which stress Ichikawa's central theme of the ephemerality of life, The Makioka Sisters is "the most pleasurable movie I have seen in months ... It's like the work of a painter who has perfect control of what colour he gives you" (Pauline Kael).