Bonchi | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Set among the matrilineal merchant class of Osaka in the early 20th century, this 1960 family drama by Kon Ichikawa follows the son of a prosperous family (Raizo Ichikawa) as he fathers only boys with various wives and geishas, much to the chagrin of his manipulative grandmother and mother. Ichikawa wrote the script with his wife and frequent collaborator, Natto Wada, and despite its sharp satirical jabs, it carefully notates the hero's ambivalence and regret toward women. The film presages Ichikawa's later triumph The Makioka Sisters (1983) in its World War II nostalgia and visual sophistication; the director maintains an ironic distance through overhead shots, deft editing, and painterly 'Scope compositions (shot by the great Kazuo Miyagawa) that consign the family members to dark and lonely spaces. With Isuzu Yamada, Ayako Wakao, and Machiko Kyo. In Japanese with subtitles. 105 min. A 35-millimeter print will be shown. Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State, Monday, January 28, 8:30, 312-846-2800.

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