Movie Sunday – Chouchou-san (2011)


TV Movie: Madame Butterfly (International English title)
Directed by Shimizu Kazuhiko and based on a novel by Shinichi Ichikawa.
Episodes: 2, 73 min each
Release Date: November 19, 2011

Cast Includes: Miyazaki Aoi as Chouchou, Ito Atsushi as Isaka, Hideki Noda as elder Isaku Tanigawa, Toshiyuki Nishida as Soshichi Obiya, and Ethan Landry as Franklin

Like the opera, the story is set in Nagasaki in the early 1900s. It portrays the ups and downs of a young woman known as Butterfly (Miyazak), who lost her parents at a young age and has become an apprentice geisha. She later meets a naval officer and gets married, though the officer intends for the marriage to last only while he is stationed in Nagasaki. They marry, but Franklin already has a wife in America. Ocho gives birth to a son, but her husband has left for America by this time.
Anyone who was raised in the North East area of the United States, especially if you were close to New York City, has spent many moments in the theater district. The joys of going to school in this area was the many trips to see many, many operas, plays and musicals of the time. One such opera that I’ve seen and loved was Madame Butterfly. I think I’ve seen this opera a couple of times with some opera greats!
So, it made perfect sense that when I saw that there was a short drama that I had to watch it and I couldn’t have picked a better Sunday morning to do so. The main focus on Chouchou’s story is a familiar one for those that have seen the opera. I felt that Miyazaki Aoi did a stand up job! Even without the singing, I felt the story and the feelings that are generally projected through the songs.
I have to applaud all of the Japanese actors for such a wonderful telling. My only complaint is the usual. Can they ever get decent English speaking actors? My least complaints would be directed to Ethan Landry who played Franklin but as usual with the English actors, I always feel like they are just reading the script; no acting. Overall, it was a nice way to spend a Sunday and I did enjoy it thoroughly.
MDL Rating: 7.5


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