A Last Note
(Gogo no youigon jo)
Director: Kaneto Shindo
Script: Kaneto Shindo
Cinematographer: Y. Miyage
Music: H. Yamashita
Cast: H. Sugimura, N. Otowa, K. Asagiri, T. Seo, H. Kanze
Production: Kindai Eiga Kyokai
Les Films du Paradoxe
35 mm, color, 112 min,
OV Japanese with french Subtitles
Awarded at Moscow Film Festival 1960
A retired actress, Yoko, visits her summer home. Her husband has recently died. Her friends Tomie, another retired actress, and her husband Fujihachiro visit the summer home as well as Toyoko. Tomie is senile and can barely hold a conversation or remember her friends' names, although she can eat with gusto.
Yoko gets Toyoko to confess that Toyoko had an affair with Yoko's husband. Toyoko tells Yoko that Akemi, her daughter, is the daughter of Yoko's husband. Akemi, who brings groceries to the summer house, is getting married. The two elderly women visit the marriage ceremony and watch various traditional stylized costumed dances of sexual rituals. A visitor to the house, Naoko, informs Yoko and Toyoko that Tomie and her husband have committed suicide. The husband withdrew all his money from his post office savings and spent it on a luxury stay at a hotel before drowning himself and Tomie by walking into the ocean. Yoko, Naoko and Toyoko retrace their final steps.
A Last Note tells three very different women's life stories. Their portrayal draws universal topics: aging, life and death. it is a tribute to drama player Haruko Sugimara and to his own spouse and actress Nabuko Ottawa.
The movie became a huge success upon its release in Japan in 1995. It is Shindo Kaneto's next-to-last movie.