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BRIDE OF THE ANDES

Japan, 1966 (MIFF 1967, Programme 11)

Director: Susumu Hani

A Japanese widow goes as a mail-order bride to a Japanese archaeologist living deep in the Andes in a primitive Peruvian Indian village. She hates her life there, hates the Incan relics, hates the Indians — who in turn hate her. She runs away and returns; goes to the city and again, comes back; all the time learning more about this land that is going to be hers . . .

Susumu Hani — the young director of a previous Melbourne Festival film, She and He — spent six months in Peru making this film under almost impossible conditions. He cuts very freely, sacrificing conventional continuity, in order to achieve an effect of immediacy and a sense of empathy with his heroine. Counter-pointing this, are beautifully captured scenes of the Peruvian heights, the dignity of the Indians, and the circumscribed lives of the new Japanese settlers. The result is a small masterpiece about the clash of cultures, the individual and society, told with lyricism, humour and a deep understanding of the solitary person.

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