Tonari No Yae-chan

Yasujiro Shimazu

[La nostra vicina Miss Yae]  T. int.: Our Neighbour, Miss Yae Sog., Scen.: Yasujiro Shimazu. F.: Takashi Kuwabara. Int.: Yukichi Iwata (Shosaku Hattori), Choko Iida (Hamako), Yumeko Aizome (Yaeko), Yoshiko Okada (Kyoko), Ryotaro Mizushima (Ikuzo Arami), Fumiko Nakinureta haru no onna yo  Katsuragi (Matsuko), Den Obinata (Keitaro), Akio Isono (Seiji), Sanae Takasugi (Etsuko Manabe). Prod.: Shochiku
35mm. D.: 76'. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Yasujiro Shimazu, whose Joriku daiippo (First Steps Ashore, 1932) was shown in the first programme of this retrospective back in 2012, remains a lar-gely unsung hero of Japanese cinema in the 1930s, and one of the pioneers of the gendai-geki (film of contemporary life). In the 1920s, working at Shochiku's Tokyo studio in Kamata, he began, with the encouragement of studio head Shiro Kido, to realize light comedies with contemporary settings, among them Chichi (Father, 1923) and Nichiyobi (Sunday, 1924). These films prefigured the shomin-geki, the drama of the lower middle classes, which was to become Shochiku's speciality and to which such directors as Yasujiro Ozu, Mikio Naruse and Keisuke Kinoshita were to make distinguished contributions. Shimazu not only helped to shape the genre, but brought to it "a realism, warmth and humour that left their mark on all of his pupils" - who included many of the finest filmmakers in classical Japanese cinema.
Our Neighbour, Miss Yae is considered his representative work, and one of the major achievements of the 1930s shomin-geki. Shimazu's penchant for understated melodrama and his blending of humour and pathos are perfectly expressed in this delicate study of family life and romance. Both in tone and style (an often static camera; a focus on the resonances of interior spaces), comparisons with Ozu are almost inevitable, and David Bordwell finds "extensive borrowings from I Was Born, But". But Shimazu's looser, somewhat less formal style has its own distinctive pleasures. Typical of its genre, the film creates characters who are both meticulously detailed individuals and exemplary of the 1930s Japanese family as a whole, allowing viewers to identify closely with their experiences and feelings. As Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano writes, "a 'new' subjectivity has been formed, and the film renders the subjectivity as the audience's own". 

Alexander Jacoby and Johan Nordström

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