|May 21 2023
What does an athlete do when she becomes the sport?
This poster was made for the Japanese movie Hishū monogatari, known in English as A Tale of Sorrow and Sadness, and strangely, though it gives absolutely no indication, it's a sports movie. Well, in the same way Jerry Maguire is a sports movie. It's a drama wrapped in sports. It deals with a golfer and model played by Yoko Shiraki who's picked by the editor of a sport/fashion magazine to be transformed into a star. She can golf fine. That's not a problem at all. She wins her first tournament—despite fainting twice—and is an overnight sensation. The problems come in the form of pressure, rivalries, crowds, modeling sessions (including in a bikini), television appearances (in a bikini), beauty treatments, elocution lessons, and more, all decided upon by roomfuls of men who see her merely as a profit center (in a bikini).
Some movies are simply ahead of their time. This one hits on an entire spectrum of current conversation, including how the expectations on female athletes are greater in various ways than in men's sports, especially the demand that they be beautiful and charming. But because this is a Japanese film, the plot soon shunts into the realm of the bizarre—a hit-and-run accident and blackmail. The shift in tone is not really a surprise, since the movie was adapted from a manga by Kajihara Kazuki. We liked the sports-focused first half better. Even so, Hishū monogatari is a decent effort, worth a watch, in our opinion. There's some confusion on Western sites about the premiere date, but the Japanese Movie Database has it opening today in 1977. It isn't the first golf-oriented Japanese movie we've run across. See here.
JapanShochiku CompanyHishū monogatariA Tale of Sorrow and SadnessYoko ShirakiKyōko EnamiYoshio HaradaSeijun Suzukiposter artcinemamovie review