Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Someday: Kabuki In The Japanese Alps

Nothing says "yokatta" quite like "free." This past weekend the Japanese Consulate in Alberta hosted a free film festival at Edmonton's historical Garneau Theatre. Yuko and I went to see Someday (Ōshika Mura Soudouki), a film based in Nagano, the prefecture Yuko grew up in and where we first met when I was living there in the mid-1990s.

Nestled deep in the Minami Alps, Ōshika is over 200 kilometers west of Tokyo. The film is a love story between Zen, the owner of a restaurant that serves deer meat ("Deer Eater"), and Takako, his estranged wife who returns after having left eighteen years before. The village is famous for its 300-year-old tradition of staging Kabuki performances and Zen happens to be rehearsing for the lead when Takako unexpectedly shows up.

Takako is suffering from Alzheimer’s, but is able to remember her lines from her last Kabuki performance before she left. This transformation into her younger self enables the old couple to reconcile while the trees in the surrounding mountains blaze in their gorgeous autumnal glory. It's a moving and partially true story - Ōshika is actually well-known in Japan for its Kabuki tradition.

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