Tradition-bound Setsuko stays faithful to her husband Mimura despite his violent, drunken rages. Her liberated sister Mariko encourages her to leave him and rekindle a romance with a former lover, Hiroshi, whom she herself is secretly in love with.
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Some of the characters positively reflect Ozu's joy in capturing social interactions, while others cast a deep shadow of discontent and outright hopelessness. Here he paints a beautiful sunny day against dark streaks of overcast clouds. And perhaps the discussions of tradition and modernity between the sisters reflected Ozu's shifting viewpoints on his own art. I love this film.
(3.5) Probably Ozu's darkest film. Aside from the odd comedy of Hideko Takamine's tongue-sticking and Benshi style speeches the restrained love triangle between her, old friend Ken Uehara, and sister Kinuyo Tanaka is overshadowed by the brooding figure of Tanaka's husband Sô Yamamura. Depression, alcoholism, spousal abuse and suicide join Ozu's familiar themes of family relationships and traditional vs modern values.
Ozu seems a bit unfamiliar in his first Shintoho production. In spite of a generous budget Ozu's authorship doesn't match Jirō Osaragi's trendy story and the only chance to see Hideko Takamine in an Ozu film surprisingly is not a masterpiece. (she appeared as a seven-year-old in Ozu's Tokyo Chorus)