I'll admit I have no use for something like this. I can watch a street view from a window by the hours and remain utterly transfixed, just a view of the world rolling around with its splendor of mundane minutiae. But don't give me flows of life melodramatized to look ordinary. Don't squeeze out histrionics as though insight.
As with contemporaneous Ozu, this troubles me more because it's already sparse enough to let you imagine where emptiness may reside at heart. But instead of being properly empty so that the smallest gesture can ring far and wide with meaning, we have scripted life.
The plot is about a wayward father who returns to take care of his family. The mother is working hard as a hostess to raise her child. Jobs are scarce.
A lot of that brings to mind Ozu's silents except this is much more despondent as a whole. The finale is bleak, pure damaged life that goes unredeemed. Instead of a sacrificing hero, the last memory of the man is as a coward and a scoundrel.
So I'm going to pass on this but want to make a last comment. Two instances visually stand out, in how sudden violence that has taken place far from us is transferred here and now, and merged with our vision. One is the car accident, Naruse's inventive touch is that he renders the thing with a toy car pushed by the father over a dresser. The second is in the finale, where the woman is confronted with bitter news and her sight becomes the blurry waters.
These are nice but again a little slight compared to what was being achieved elsewhere.
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