In the article, “Kinoshita and the Gift of Tears: Twenty- four Eyes,” Keiko McDonald presents Kinoshita who is renowned for his evocation of the lyrical. To evoke lyricism in this the most “lachrymose” postwar film, the director uses three unique methods.
“First, he presents a set of individual characters, who are very much like us in their responses to everyday life”(233). The director led us often thinking the way as though we were in the characters’ position. For example, at first we see a young woman who rides a bicycle and wears a Western dress. At that time we are thinking like those parents: she seems not really fit in this conservative village. The attitude changed when Oishi called students by their nicknames. An action that we feel friendly, but criticized by those old fashion parents make audiences become more sympathetic toward Oishi. Because we can understand why she is doing that, we share the same value system with her and it makes us feel we would do the same if we were in her shoes. Oishi and those 12 children are so vivid, just like people who live around us. The articles lets audiences feel no generation gap and allows audiences to easily become one with them.
Second, “Kinoshita uses popular children's songs associated with certain sentiments as a background.”(233). This is the most interesting part when I watching the movie. Although I am from China, there is lots of songs are familiar to me. In these scenes, the songs intensify the emotional. “Nanatsu no Ko” [Seven Baby Crows] is the song most used in this movie. Every time this song appears, we can feel the emotion connection between Oishi and her pupils. But the emotions are different each time. Through a same song in different times we can feel the relationship between students and teacher are getting closer. For example, at the first time, it seems like Oishi was teaching students this song, it expresses Oishi’s affection for pupils. The second time the song shows up is when Oishi falls down and some of the students begin to cry. This indicates a maternal relationship was formed. Also in the scene Oishi decided move to the main campus, and say goodbye to her students. When she gets into the boat, pupils sing the song to her together. This time we feel the students’ respect and love for the teacher. There is an interesting detail, when the first time those children singing “Nanatsu no Ko”, the song is totally out of tune. But in the departing moment, they already were singing beautifully.
Finally, the third way to evoke lyricism is by the “drama of rhythmic continuity. The whole movie presents us Oishi and 12 students’ lives since they met. Everyone’s fate was affected by the war. Their life was intertwined with joy and sorrow. The director led us to experience those ups and downs in their lives make us easy to take the inside view.
Towards the end of 1950s “war” began to be treated as a theme for popular entertainment. (Shimazu, 111) But in this great movie we can see the humanists presented by the director. Kinoshita transferred this famous women’s literature into the cinema to let people wonder if this war really worthwhile and ponder the meaning of life.