And again, more of the same mastery: working class poverty, moral introspection post-spouse-death, overly emotive scores, nuanced psychological meditations. This one has a little happy-go-lucky feel at times, but essentially just as bleak as the other Naruse films I've seen. Time to watch more. You should too.
Naruse's Shimizu film in that it shifts perspective from child to adult has a bucolic getaway scene and a kids day at the park scene and even sets up three gags that play incredibly well and are really funny all include Eiji Okada (Hiroshima Mon Amour) part of a dream team cast, who is incredible as a comic actor almost ahead of his time. So in other words I laughed and I cried.
Besides motherhood, this film demonstrates the absurd nature of life with two prominent deaths occurring very early in the film. It shows the sense of entitlement children feel towards their parents even to the extent becoming an obstruction to happiness. This film never peddles melodrama or sensationalism - it parodies it. It's characters are pragmatic esp. the children who come across as actual sentient beings.
Held in higher esteem in Japan than in English reviews I've read, where it's considered maudlin - often blamed on the source, a prize-winning girls' high school essay. But this is one of Naruse's bleakest films. Two of the family are dead by the halfway mark; the selfish daughter sabotagesl mother's future. The sunny tone of the film is odd counterpoint to its dark heart. Tanaka Kinuyo's never been better. Superior.
This is one of Naruse's most emotionally satisfying films told from the loving perspective of older daughter, whose mother deals with family deaths, tribulations, sadness and joy as she endeavours to hold her family together. Kinuyo Tanaka is mesmerising, every facial detail revealing hidden depths. Scenes of death, departure and leave-taking the family home, esp youngest daughter are unbearably moving...