Carmen Comes Home

Karumen kokiyo ni kaeru

dir. Keisuke Kinoshita

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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A brassy girly-show "entertainer" (Hideko Takamine) causes a scandal when she returns to her straitlaced hometown in Keisuke Kinoshita's delightful, smashingly successful comedy.

Screening in a new DCP made to mark the centenary of director Keisuke Kinoshita, Carmen Comes Home was Japan's first colour film, and uses every available hue and then some in its comic tale of an exotic entertainer (read: stripper) who returns from the big city to her rural village to visit her father. In harlot-red dress and elaborate hat, her brazen spectacle embarrasses her not-so-proud papa and incites consternation among the townspeople — particularly when her sidekick Maya has a major underwear mishap at a village event. Snacking on the mountain scenery, Hideko Takamine delights in playing against type as Lily Carmen, dedicated to her "art" even as the hometown philistines try to shame her for it. Kinoshita's breezy paean to female emancipation became such a hit that he teamed up with Takamine the next year to make a sequel, Carmen's Pure Love. "A charming film that has dated incredibly well[;] gaudy yet naturalistic[, and] refreshingly breezy" (Midnight Eye).

Carmen Comes Home screens free as part of Bell Free Weekend.