Ryoichi and Chikako are brother and sister. They live together. Chikako works during the day in a office and at night she prostitutes herself to fund her brother studies in univesity. ... See full summary »
Ryoichi and Chikako are brother and sister. They live together. Chikako works during the day in a office and at night she prostitutes herself to fund her brother studies in univesity. Ryoichi doesn't know about his sister's secret life but he is dating Harue whose brother is a policeman. Written by
Seeing this a second time in a healthy restored print, I still can't say I'm entirely won over by this early melodrama involving a woman who is scandalized when her brother's girlfriend learns of her prostitution to help cover his student expenses. The chief interest of this film lies in its unusual structure: as J. Hoberman notes, the film is "a subtle riot of discordant formal devices -- two- character crosscutting is complicated by weird eye-line matches and bizarre special jumps, inexplicable interpolations, and exreme close-ups." (There's also some interesting non-matching of dialogue intertitles with the characters speaking them, which David Bordwell discusses in his study on Ozu.) Hoberman concludes that "inadvertant or not, it's a masterpiece," though I think one would have to appraise the film on strictly formalist experimental grounds to come to that evaluation (Hoberman was probably thinking of his favorite cut- and-paste classic ROSE HOBART as he wrote this). There certainly is plenty to baffle over, such as the sudden wild digression to two journalists bantering happily at the end of the film, which seems to suggest Ozu's contempt at public indifference to a private tragedy, a theme that gets a real workout in the much later masterpiece TOKYO TWILIGHT.
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