Release Year: 2008
Set at the end of the Taisho era (1920s) at Ishiuchi Jinjo Higher Elementary School in the mountains of Hiroshima prefecture, there was a fervent teacher called Mr. Ichikawa (Akira Emoto). He always placed his pupils first and took any issues to heart. His warm personality is forever remembered by his former pupils. For Yoshito (Etsushi Toyokawa), who skipped town after his family went bankrupt, Mr. Ichikawa's memory remains especially precious. 30 years later, a reunion is organized to celebrate Mr. Ichikawa's retirement. Yoshito, who has gone to Tokyo but remains a struggling screenwriter, musters courage to attend the gathering where he has a tearful reunion with the teacher. Thereafter, Yoshito visits Mr. Ichikawa whenever possible, however, his advancing age means he is getting closer to the end of his life. "Teacher and Three Children" - 44th Kaneto Shindo film.
When I first read the synopsis I wasn't too sure about this film, but once I'd watched it, I was glad I had. At first glance, I thought it would be a typically goofy Japanese comedy. But I was pleasantly surprised.
Of course, I would always watch a Shindo film and know I would find much to like. In this case, it was the humanity and depth of feeling that Shindo captures throughout the film that impressed me. It is light hearted in general and has many humourous scenes, but it always comes back to the emotional needs of the characters and the goodness of character and concern for others that helps them pull through the different trials life brings.
It's definitely not sugar coated. There's lots of hardship and things don't work out the way the characters might hope. I don't know if you'd call this a 'feel good' movie, but it certainly leaves you with a sense of the goodness in people however imperfect we might be.