Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Shubun - Movie Review

Akira Kurosawa is the director. Shubun means scandal. This was his 11th film and preceded Rashomon.

First shot. A painter is shown painting landscapes of mountains in the wilderness. Three peasants are watching him paint and are offering their rustic advise. A girl, a famous singer comes by. She has lost her way. Painter offers to drop her off on his motorcycle as he is going the same way.

Two freelance journalists see the couple in the hotel where they stay. They request the singer for an interview. She declines. They get a few snaps of the two sitting in the hotel balcony and sell the photos with some misleading captions, hinting at an affair. The story is carried by a mischievous publication called Amour. The publisher is not too scrupulous.

The news becomes a big scandal. The painter decides to sue the paper. The publication manipulates everything and everybody. They hire the best lawyer. The painter gets a lawyer who is easily compromised. He has a love for the races. The magazine compromises him.

The case is covered widely by the media which judges the trial and influences how it goes. The painter's lawyer does everything to lose the case. However he has a young daughter who is dying of tuberculosis. The painter and the singer are very nice to her. The girl dies. The man feels guilty and confesses. The painter and singer are acquitted. The lawyer loses his license. The publisher gets punished and loses the case.

The hook is strong. You can't forget it. The story is told simply. It was made to protest against the press and its role. Kurosawa felt that the press was sacrificing truth for sensationalism. This was in 1950. We still feel the same.  

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