BIG MAMA (2001) [Feature]

Japan (MIFF 2002 , Regional Focus)
Director: Kon Ichikawa

"Okatsu is a widow raising five children - adults but still mama-dependent - in mid-eighteenth century Edo, Japan. Her frugality attracts unflattering comment even amid national tough times (the region is in famine) What Okatsu tells no one is that she saves so that a friend can start his own business once he's released from prison. (The crime: stealing food for his starving baby.) She doesn't blink when she finds herself facing a robber late one night. The thief is another hard-luck case, and she takes him in as a 'son', one duly accepted as a brother by her biological ones - and who sparks an eldest daughter's shy romantic interest." - Variety

Laced with warm family humour and strong performances, Big Mama is a rounded film of humility and compassion. With this, his 75th feature film, veteran Japanese director Kon Ichikawa demonstrates passion for his subject matter. Okatsu is portrayed as a strong-minded, pragmatic woman with an acute understanding of her life predicament.

Kon Ichikawa (born in Mie Prefecture, Japan, 1915) has directed documentaries and feature films of various genres including melodrama, literature-based, mystery and serious drama. He directed his first film, The Flower Blooms, in 1948. Big Mama is his 75th film.

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