May 03, 2014

The Yellow Handkerchief (幸福の黄色いハンカチ) | WAKUWAKU JAPAN Movie Review

Elle and I just watched this classic Japanese movie last night at WAKUWAKU JAPAN TV Channel (#168). It is called The Yellow Handkerchief / "Shiawase no kiiroi hankachi" (幸福の黄色いハンカチ). Anyway, this is the 1977 one, not the remake version with Kristen Stewart in it. :)

Directed by Yoji Yamada, this award(s) winning movie tells a story of a spontaneous road trip made by three strangers who meet on the road. Kinya (Tetsuya Takeda), a tacky guy who just bought a new red car meets Akemi (Kaori Momoi), a cute, young woman along the way. Some time later, they meet Yusaku (Ken Takakura), an introvert middle aged guy and he joins in, too. The story moves along and after a while, they find out that Yusaku has just got out of prison and that he was jailed for murder. He then begins to open up to Kinya and Akemi about his past, particularly about his ex wife Mitsue (Chieko Baisho) and their bittersweet relationship. The two then helped Yusaku to get closure by escorting him to his old house, to which he has sent a hopeful letter which instructed Mitsue to hang a yellow handkerchief outside her house if she still wants him back.

We LOVE this movie! Funny and heartwarming, The Yellow Handkerchief (1977) might not be a heavy movie filled with mind-blowing twists or complex stories. But this humble movie simply won our hearts because it is a contrary to all that. It doesn't try too hard and everything flows naturally from the beginning to the end. During the road trip, the retro Japanese suburban city life mixed with Japan's natural landscape scenes were all beautifully captured, too. Watching The Yellow Handkerchief (1977) feels like watching the real version of Ghibli animation movies. Everybody's acting was great, unpretentious and very natural. There are even some really good moral messages in this movie; told in very simple and subtle ways. It teaches loyalty, respect, happiness in simple things and above all, love between a man and a woman.

You know you just watched a good movie when you don't realize that time went by and when you do, you realize that it was time well spent.

Thank you so much WAKUWAKU JAPAN TV for bringing this movie into our lives!

Jessica Yamada

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