(3 and a half stars). Not so simple as it may seem, Mikio Naruse's tale of archery Masters and the honor of Samurai lowers us deep into the wellspring of an inner mastery, a duty to sacrifice and integrity. As if transferred from a Ukiyo-e print by Suzuki Harunobu, the consummate actress Kinuyo Tanaka is an epitome of grace, tradition and loyalty. Her role is
Naruse's second period film in two years on a similar theme: in both this and THE SONG LANTERN a man's youthful arrogance leads to the humiliation of an older man who then commits suicide; to atone for his sins the young man mentors the child of the dead man; the young person (daughter in SONG LANTERN, son here) is unaware of his identity. Both films are excellent, quite pretty dour and unheroic for wartime Japan.