Expands considerably Kawabata's beautiful tale, making explicit its emotional undercurrents. Anyone who's watched enough old Japanese movies knows the youths here (including a very young, lovely Tanaka Kinuyo) won't find happiness, but it's handled with skill by Gosho: The young man embraces a rock wall because he can't embrace the girl he loves. The ship pulls away, leaving only Tanaka with the heartbroken face.
Most likely the best of at least half-a-dozen adaptations of Kawabata's sublime and elegiac short story about innocent love. It adds heft to the work by expanding on its sociopolitical context. Gosho inundates it further with warmth and lyricism. Kinuyo Tanaka, already one of the biggest stars in the country, is simply superb here, especially in the symbol-laden final sequence. A masterpiece!