Bleak. Trades in some ugly truths. Can a moment make a film? It really hits the mark once the husband returns, hijacking the story to make a case about the horrible expectations of men, culminating in one of the most shocking moments I have seen in a drama. It offers a view of abuse that peddles far more in the murky greys of the world we inhabit.
A post-war Ozu drama similar to the films of Mizoguchi & Naruse. Ozu wisely concentrates not on the rape, prostitution, and war scenes but the effects. The main overarching theme is very clear: The decay of Japan due WWII. And though the spousal abuse (shown in full detail and predicted by the falling metal can) is a little unconventional for Ozu, Tokiko's perseverance is touching until the very last frame.
An unconventional, significant and decidedly shocking work in the director's oeuvre, it may be his most demeaning portrait of the woman in post-war Japan as it debases the moral integrity of its female lead almost to that of an animal worth beating, for the sake of a maudlin, trite denouement and, in context, a searing indictment on Japanese family values after the war. Recommended for sure, but I don't approve it.
Ozu looks at post-war Japan and doesn't see much he likes; from the drab industrial wasteland in the background to the precarious social position of it's returning veterans and struggling unemployed, simmering shame and violence beneath his usually subdued familial protagonists.