Two bruised souls enact a tender, hesitant romance in Shimizu’s alternately poignant and playful wartime love story. A soldier is waylaid at a rural spa when he accidentally cuts his foot on the titular object. Soon enough he tracks down its lovely owner and finds himself smitten.
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A light-hearted film made grave and enticing by its lovely, melancholic final scenes of Tanaka abandoned in a kind of Japanese paradise of lakes, temple steps, and kimonos. These final scenes very noticeably undermine the simplistic optimism of the rest of the film by seeming to divine the last gasp of a soon-to-be lost insular, ancient Japan, overflowing with ritual and quiet reveries.
Incredible stylistic eclecticism- Shimizu cuts from wide-angles to close-ups, tracking shots to two-shots, in a way that would see random and willful in our standardized age, but it all hangs tight to the story and turns it into an exploration of a thousand possibilities. It's those ever-present possibilities that make the conclusion all the more sad.