Life is what happens when you are making other plans~ John Lennon
An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind~Gandhi
The time is always right to do what is right~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Movie Version of Snow Falling on Cedars

Snow Falling on Cedars
-1999 film directed by Scott Hicks
-Based on the novel of the same name
-Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography.

Did You Know?
-Many of the extras in the Japanese internment camp scene were actual Japanese Americans who were sent to the camps in the 1940s

-In the novel, the name of the accused was Kabuo. But it was changed in the movie to Kazuo
-Ishmael never pronounces the love of his life's name right. He always says "Hat-sue" when in actuality it is pronounced "Ha-Tsu-E"
-Set in the fictitious town of San Piedro Island, near Puget Sound in Washington State in 1950, a Japanese American war hero named Kazuo Miyamoto(Rick Yune) gets accused of the murder of a local fisherman named Carl Heine, a white fisherman. This trial goes down in post WWII America, when hatred towards Japanese was still pretty high. Covering the case is Ishmael Chambers(Ethan Hawke), in charge of the town's one man newspaper, the San Piedro Review. He was a WWII veteran who lost an arm fighting the Japanese in the Battle of Tarawa. Ishmael fights with feelings of attraction to Kazuo's wife Hatsue(Youki Kudoh) and his conscience, suspecting Kazuo might be innocent

-At the prosection are the town sheriff, Art Moran(Richard Jenkins), and prosecutor Alvin Hooks(James Rebhorn). Also present is the defense attorney Nels Gudmundsson(Max von Sydow). The underlying, but obviously visible theme here is prejudice. Witnesses are brought forward, such as Etta Heine(Celia Weston), Carl's mother, all accusing Kazuo of the murder for racial and personal reasons. Etta is shown as the stereotypical atnti-Japanese woman; she represents part of America during WWII. What they fail to realize is that Kazuo is a decorated member of the 442 Regimental Combat Team(made up of mostly Japanese American men). He experiences prejudice every day because of his Asian ethnicity. But by the same reasons, Etta, who is German American, could be blamed for Nazi war crimes
-Also in the trial, is Ole Man Jurgensen, an elderly man who ran a strawberry field and sold it to Carl. This issue of land is brought up in trial. The land originally belonged to Jurgensen, but sold it to Carl Heine Sr. The Miyamotos lived on the land, picking strawberries and when kids, Kazuo and Carl Jr. were friends. One day, Kazuo's father asked Carl Sr. about buying 7 acres of land, which Carl Sr. happily agreed. The payments would be made over 10 years. Just as the last payment was to be made, war erupted between US and Japan, and all who were of Japanese descent were to be sent to the internment camps. Carl Sr. died of a heart attack in 1944, and Etta sold the land. When Kazuo returned, he discovered the land was gone, she sold it. He became extremely bitter towards her. Ole suffered a stroke and decided to sell the entire farm.
-Ishamel's little investigation unearths records revealing that the night Carl died, he was fishing at 1:42 am, near the Point White lighthouse. Records reveal from the maritime station there, a freighter called the SS West Corona passed there, 5 minutes before Carl died. He then realizes that 1:47 am was the time of death for Carl, and the most likely cause of death was drowning. The freighter created a huge wake and knocked Carl overboard. Ishmael comes forward with this new evidence.
-More evidence collected reveals that Carl had climbed the mast on his boat to cut down a lantern, and when the freighter came by, the wake knocked him off, into the sea. The charges against Kazuo are then dropped.

  • Ethan Hawke as Ishmael Chambers
  • Reeve Carney as Young Ishmael Chambers
  • James Cromwell as Judge Fielding
  • Richard Jenkins as Sheriff Art Moran
  • James Rebhorn as Alvin Hooks
  • Sam Shepard as Arthur Chambers
  • Max von Sydow as Nels Gudmundsson
  • Youki Kudoh as Hatsue Miyamoto
  • Anne Suzuki as Young Hatsue Imada
  • Rick Yune as Kazuo Miyamoto
  • Seiji Inouye as Young Kazuo Miyamoto
  • Celia Weston as Etta Heine
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