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Film / Carmen Comes Home

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Carmen Comes Home is a 1951 film directed by Keisuke Kinoshita.

In this lighthearted comedy, a woman named Kin who has adapted the stage name of "Lily Carmen" (Hideko Takamine) returns from Tokyo to her rural village in the shadow of Mount Asama. It seems that Kin/Carmen ran away from home several years ago and found success in the big a stripper. She's still been a dutiful daughter, sending money home. Her father Shoichi is mortified by how his daughter makes her living, but still takes the money.

Other characters include Carmen's far more traditional sister Yuki, Carmen's fellow stripper Akemi who has accompanied her home, Maruju the jerkass businessman, a former schoolteacher named Haruto who was blinded in the war, and his stressed-out wife Kiyoshi.

This was the first ever film in Japan made in color, although black and white films would still prove very popular in Japan well into the next decade. Followed by a sequel, Carmen's Pure Love.


  • As You Know: The fellow who picks up Maruju at the train station in a carriage says "You are a pioneer for the village, since you plan to build a hotel here!
  • Clothing Damage: Invoked and lampshaded. Akemi stupidly wears a tear-away stripper skirt to the youth festival. Sure enough, Maruju paws at her, she jumps up, she loses the skirt (leaving her only in a bikini top and hot pants), and she causes a huge commotion.
  • Fanservice: Attractive young Carmen and Akemi wear a succession of scanty outfits throughout the film.
  • Fish out of Water: Despite being from the town Carmen could not fit in any less. She, and her friend Akemi, go about dolled up to the nines, wearing a series of brightly colored vivid dresses, except for the times they are wearing even less than that. The contrast between the staid villagers in their dull kimonos is very striking.
  • Gratuitous English:
    • When Carmen tells Akemi to move to the "side" for a picture, a shocked villager says "She used a foreign word!"
    • Carmen sings a song in English with lyrics like "I love you sweetheart". This film was made during the American occupation of Japan and Japanese filmmakers of the day were not allowed to refer to the occupation directly or feature American characters in the movies, but the strong implication is that Carmen has entertained a lot of American servicemen.
    • That's implied even more strongly when Carmen says the English sentence "Going my way?" when coming on to Haruto. One is left to wonder just how Carmen was entertaining American servicemen in occupation Tokyo.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: Throughout the entire movie the men of the village gawk at Carmen and Akemi as the two hot strippers flounce around.
  • Leg Focus: Akemi makes a great show of sticking out her long, smooth legs as Carmen snaps a photo, while the villagers stare in amazement.
  • Off-into-the-Distance Ending: Ends with Akemi and Carmen's train headed off to Tokyo, where the girls clearly belong.
  • Parental Favoritism: Shoichi admits straight up that Lin/Carmen is his favorite daughter and he wonders if her uninhibited/slutty ways might have been caused by being kicked in the head by a cow when she was a child. He says this right in front of his other daughter, the respectable Yuki, although if Yuki resents this she never lets on.
  • Scenery Porn: Many lovely shots of the valley, and Mount Asano in the distance puffing smoke.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: This was 1951, so the film cuts away when Carmen and Akemi lose their clothes during their performance.
  • Slice of Life: Interestingly, not much changes in this window into life in a small town. Shoichi still doesn't approve of his daughter's job, and donates the money from her show to the town school. Carmen and Akemi get bored with the dull village and go back to Tokyo. Maruju gets a little less stingy and lets Haruto have the organ back, but as far as character growth that's about it.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: Carmen and Akemi are strippers. The school principal (played by Chishu Ryu), who encouraged Shoichi to accept his artist daughter, is embarrassed when he finds out just what Carmen's art entails.