Planned as a sequel to the highly successful Repast, this film again treats the minute irritations in young married life that can burgeon into a full-scale break-up. As in Repast, Setsuko Hara was to have played the wife to Ken Uehara’s husband, but the star’s illness created the opportunity for Naruse to suggest one of his casting tours de force: Sugi had never played anything but a sweet young girl before, but she carries out the disillusioned wife role to perfection. –Audie E. Bock
Mikio Naruse is one of the least known of Japan’s early master directors, both in the West and in Japan, yet he created some of the most moving, darkly beautiful works in Japanese cinema. Like Kenji Mizoguchi, Naruse showed an uncanny understanding for the psychology of women. Like Yasujiro Ozu, he preferred subtle shifts of character over broad strokes of plot. Unlike either of these early greats, however, Naruse’s vision of humanity was much darker and more clinical. He stripped all vestiges of hope or acceptance from his films, what remains is only a willful struggle to endure. His relentlessly negative view of human existence has resulted in Naruse’s often being labeled a nihilist.
Born in Tokyo, in 1905, Naruse was the youngest of three sons of a desperately poor embroiderer. Although he excelled in elementary school, his family could not afford to further his education. He was instead enrolled in a two-year technical school. There, he spent virtually all of his free time… read more