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Children of the Beehive

Sunday, May 19, 2024 at 5:15 pm

Location: Bartos Screening Room


Dir. Hiroshi Shimizu. 1948, 86 mins. 35mm print courtesy of the Kawakita Memorial Film Institute. In Japanese with English subtitles. With Shimamura Shunsaku, Natsuki Massako, Gosho Shoichi, Kubota Shin-ichiro, Iwamoto Yutaka. The most celebrated of Shimizu’s postwar films, Children of the Beehive is a momentous work depicting the shattered state of reconstruction-era Japan. A nameless soldier repatriated to his defeated and occupied country undertakes a cross-country odyssey to bring a ragtag band of orphans to the reformatory school of his youth, the Introspection Tower (the namesake of Shimizu’s earlier 1941 feature). Cutting a winding path through the backwaters of the nation, along coastlines, railways, and mountain roads, Shimizu’s wanderers embody the wretched yet resilient spirit of the Japanese underclass. Self-produced by Shimizu after his departure from Shochiku and featuring the orphans he had adopted during and after the conflict, the film is a heart-wrenching study of the cataclysmic effects of war at home. 

The Museum’s screening of Children of the Beehive is an encore presentation from the second part of the Hiroshi Shimizu retrospective, “Part II: The Postwar and Independent Years,” presented at Japan Society (May 16–June 1).

Tickets: $15 / $11 senior and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / discounted for MoMI members ($7–$11). There is a $1.50 transaction fee per ticket for all online purchases. The cost of admission may be applied toward a same-day purchase of a membership. 

Order tickets. Please pick up tickets at the Museum’s admissions desk upon arrival. All seating is general admission.