Tetsuro, a handsome but over-age college student, meets Shino, a beautiful but virtuous saki-shop waitress and falls in love with her. Tetsuro’s home life has been difficult.
After his oldest sister killed herself in remorse for loving an unsuitable man, his second oldest sister killed herself because she blamed herself for her sister’s death. Tetsuro’s oldest brother, finding these deaths intolerable, disappeared. But it was not until the next oldest brother ran away with the family fortune that Tetsuro’s father suffered the stroke that left him almost a vegetable. Now he lives in the north, frugally, with his wife and daughter, Tetsuro’s sole remaining sister, who has some unspecified dread disease that makes her wear dark glasses and feel self-conscious.
Tetsuro considers his family history special, and he is diffident about mentioning it to Shino. Her family, on the other hand, has been destitute since her father lost his shooting gallery (now turned into a house of prostitution) and moved into a temple where he lives as a pauper and where Shino’s younger brother makes straw brooms.
Undone by drink, the father eventually dies. Tetsuro witnesses the death, the first natural death he has ever seen. Somehow this makes him confident enough to want to go ahead and marry Shino—who is already engaged to another man, a rich businessman she doesn’t love and who isn’t good enough for her anyway. —Roger Greenspun
Kei Kumai (June 1, 1930 – May 23, 2007) was a Japanese film director from Azumino, Nagano prefecture. After his studies in literature at Shinshu University, he worked as director’s assistant.
Often overshadowed by the achievements of his better-known contemporaries within the Japanese film industry, such as Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu, filmmaker Kei Kumai nonetheless reigned supreme in terms of raw cinematic craftsmanship. Over the course of nearly six decades, Kumai acquired and honed a reputation for creating unapologetically adult-oriented dramas that consistently explored social themes relevant to Japan. In the process, Kumai swept up a veritable pantheon of awards from the world’s top festivals, including Berlin, Montreal, Venice, and San Sebastian.
The Nagano-born Kumai joined the Nikkatsu Film Studios in the early ’50s and, over the course of six years, worked his way up through the ranks to the level of screenwriter and director. He debuted as a helmer with… read more