Picture Bride

Director: Kayo Hatta
Screenwriters: Mari Hatta, Kayo Hatta


Picture Bride is an enchanting labor of love by Hawaiian-born Japanese-American filmmaker Kayo Hatta. Shot by the masterful Claudio Rocha (The Beginning and the End, Like Water for Chocolate), and staring the extraordinary Youki Kudoh (Mystery Train, Ryukyu no Kaze) the film is an inspired portrayal of Hawaii's plantation era.

Set in 1915, Picture Bride introduces us to a world which is totally unfamiliar to most of us. Describing the struggles and joys of the pioneers of modern Hawaii, executive producer Diane Mei Lin Mark explains " . . . the immigrants surmounted the stumbling block of racism and laid the foundations for one of the world's most successful multi-ethnic societies."

Riyo (Youki Kudoh) is eighteen years old when she leaves her native Japan and takes a chance as a picture bride in Hawaii. Her marriage has been arranged by elders, and her only knowledge about her husband is based on a single photograph. But when Riyo meets her husband Matsuji, he is twenty years older. than his photo, and Hawaii's plantation life is not the paradise she has dreamed it would be. Homesick and disillusioned, Riyo is desperate for a friend. One night she meets a mysterious woman in the cane fields, who guides her through het first year in Hawaii and leads her to unexpected happiness.

Shot in Waialua on Oahu's north shore, Picture Bride is simply beautiful. The lighting is magical. and the performances are rock solid. Hatta directs with confidence and plumbs the emotional depth of every character. The story celebrates life and digs deep to find its hidden meanings. The world of the film is fresh and new, and Riyo's plight remains etched in our hearts.

Saturday Jan 22 4:30 pm
Sundance Screening Room

Saturday Jan 29 3:00 pm
Prospector Square Theatre


— Catherine Schulman

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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