Watch Rhapsody in August
- 1 hr 38 min
Rhapsody in August is a 1991 Japanese drama film directed by world-renowned director Akira Kurosawa, and it stars Sachiko Murase, Hisashi Igawa, and American superstar Richard Gere. The story follows the life of a small, country-town family who gets to meet their estranged uncle who has been living in America for several decades. The family comprises of 4 siblings, 3 grandchildren, and their 80-year-old grandmother, Taeko (Sachiko Murase), who is a survivor of the Nagasaki atomic bombing. The story primarily takes place in Nagasaki, Japan, as the family prepares to commemorate the day of the bombing.
The story moves on to Amantani Island in Peru, where the ancestors of the family had migrated to, and then follows with the story of the current family's elder brother, Rokkaku (Hisashi Igawa), and his successful life as a car dealer in the United States. The family comes together when Rokkaku invites them to come to visit and take care of their uncle, who lives alone in Nagasaki.
Upon their arrival, the family tries to adjust to the language, culture, and traditions of their native country, which has changed over the years. Ayako (Narumi Kayashima), the youngest grandchild, is taken aback by the fact that her Japanese has gradually faded away, whereas her elder siblings have been learning about their roots through their parents. Haru (Hidetaka Yoshioka) takes the opportunity to visit various tourist destinations to learn about their rich history.
The family explores Nagasaki and its various landmarks, such as the atomic bomb museum and memorial, and they marinate in the city's rich history. The story introduces Richard Gere as Clark, Rokkaku's American son, who decides to join the family in Japan without any prior notice.
The visit coincides with the anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing, which brings forth painful memories and emotions for Taeko, who survived the bombing. Taeko's recital of her memories of the bombing creates a sense of unease and disconnect within the family, who fail to comprehend the magnitude of the tragedy. Haru takes the opportunity to understand the bombing through his grandmother's experiences, and tries to create a documentary of it.
Clark joins Haru in learning about their roots, and he further explores Nagasaki by visiting the local markets and meeting with the locals. He also starts a romance with a local tour guide, which raises eyebrows in the conservative Japanese society. But the story isn't just about family dynamics, as it also shows how the Nagasaki bombing has had lasting impacts on the people and culture of Japan.
Rhapsody in August isn't just a family story, but a story of rediscovery, reconciliation, and acceptance. It tells the story of a family who have been disconnected from their roots and are trying to reconnect with their history and culture. The generations and cultures clash, but with time, they come together with the common goal of understanding and appreciating their heritage.
Kurosawa's Rhapsody in August is a poignant and sensitive portrayal of Japanese culture and history, which resonates with audiences around the world. The film encourages its viewers to reconsider their relationship with their roots and appreciate their heritage, and it showcases the aftermath of one of the worst tragedies in human history. With its strong cast, beautiful cinematography, and heartfelt story, Rhapsody in August is worth a watch for anyone interested in exploring the human experience.