Sirk-like romantic melodrama played out with exquisitely restrained, yet emotional performances by an unfaithful husband and wife and the lovers that they come to grief with. Gosho's frames are all exquisite, full of depth and pictorial beauty. The final suicide is played out on barren marshland and its images could almost be from today's cinema.
Wow, Reiko is a complex character. What is she looking for? Love? Excitement? An authoritive father figure? A replacement mother? All of the above? She ping-pongs between innocent and scheming, picking at a scab until it becomes a bloody mess. She gets a kick out of toying with the couple but is also repulsed by her own actions, much like a kid poking a dying animal.
I just saw this for the second time and I'm convinced it's a masterpiece (whether a major or minor one, I'll leave to others to judge). What's marvelous about the film is how, despite the selfishness, insensitivity and plain destructiveness of the heroine's (Kuga's) behavior, she remains a sympathetic character, who's looking for love from both the husband and the wife in the triangle. Grab this if you can.