Ka-chan (2001)

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Following up on the 2000 work Dora Heita -- which was also written by such figures of Japan's golden age of cinema as Keisuke Kinoshita, Masaki Kobayashi, and Akira Kurosawa -- master filmmaker Kon Ichikawa directs this earthy drama, based on a short story written by Shugoro Yamanoto. Set in the 1830s during a period of economic stagnation, the film centers on a tough-minded matron (Keiko Kishi) who struggles to provide for her family of three adult sons and a daughter. Stern though generous, she organizes an effort to save her eldest son's friend from destitution. When a young, impoverished burglar (Ryuji Harada) breaks into the house demanding money, she invites the lad to live with the family. Desperate and hungry, the youth accepts her offer and soon falls for her beautiful daughter but is too embarrassed about his origins to court her.