A mother's courage during wartime is the topic of Yoji Yamada's new film, "Kabie". We see the strong bond between a mother and her family in Tokyo in the 1940's. The peaceful life of the family soon changes when the father, Shigeru Nogami is accused of being a communist. Kayo, his wife, frantically works to keep the home together and to raise her two daughters. Her husband's sister, Hisako, and a former student, Yamazaki help but the husband does not return. When the war breaks out, Kayois determined to keep her family together and does so with love. The film is based upon the the memoir of Teruyo Nogami and we get a feeling of realism knowing that the film is based upon actual events. "Kabei" depicts the hardship of a woman in pre and during WWII, raising her kids alone after her husband imprisoned for "thought crime". This movie was directed by Yamada Youji, and as expected the atmosphere of this movie is really wonderful. Although the historical correctness of some scenes, most notably the beach scene, is a suspect.
The acting in this movie is absolutely incredible. I am baffled at how they managed to gather this all-star cast for a 2008 film. Yoshinaga Sayuri, possibly the most decorated still-active actress in Japan, will undoubtedly win more individual awards for her performance in this film. Shoufukutei Tsurube in a supporting role was really nice as well. It was Asano Tadanobu though, who delivered the most impressive performance, perfectly portraying the wittiness of his character and the difficult situation he was in. There is \onderful directing and acting which made me totally absorbed by the story. This is an excellent film, highly recommended for all viewers.