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Wife! Be Like a Rose! (1935)
"Tsuma yo bara no yô ni" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  12 April 1937 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 197 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 3 critic

Tokyo salary girl lives with very serious bluestocking haiku writing mother. Salary girl seeks to marry the attendant dish but needs absent father to act as go-between... See full synopsis »

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Title: Wife! Be Like a Rose! (1935)

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Cast

Cast overview:
Sachiko Chiba ...
Kimiko Yamamoto
Yuriko Hanabusa ...
Oyuki
Toshiko Itô ...
Etsuko - Kimiko's mother
Setsuko Horikoshi ...
Shizuko - Oyuki's daughter
Chikako Hosokawa ...
Shingo's wife
Sadao Maruyama ...
Shunsaku - Kimiko's father
Heihachirô Ôkawa ...
Seiji - Kimiko's boyfriend
Kaoru Itô ...
Kenichi - Oyuki's son
Kamatari Fujiwara ...
Shingo - Etsuko's brother
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Storyline

Tokyo salary girl lives with very serious bluestocking haiku writing mother. Salary girl seeks to marry the attendant dish but needs absent father to act as go-between... See full synopsis »

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Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

12 April 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kimiko  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was possibly the first fictional feature film from Japan to be distributed in the United States, under the name "Wife, Be Like a Rose!" See more »

Connections

Remade as Koi ni mezameru koro (1969) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Poems, prospector
12 March 2012 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

I have no use for melodrama dished out straight. This is because my stance is that even the most ordinary life on the planet is experienced as a deep personal drama, so dramatizing on top of that produces a ludicrous, myopic effect. As though a particular dramatic chain of events is somehow more revealing, more insightful about what it means to live, so needs to be magnified for us to notice.

What I'm looking for instead in a film like this is how deeply it is prepared to acknowledge the fabrication of its drama and contrivance. How far it can imagine the controls to go in any given situation and does it offer a glimpse of bare soul beyond them.

Unlike previous films by Naruse, this one is a welcome sight. The main idea is that we are set up to imagine the story to be a certain way, a father has abandoned wife and daughters to shack up with a geisha, so we assume he's a scoundrel, the mistress a scheming succubus, but when we finally travel to meet him, the situation turns out to be completely different. The story as we heard it from the mother, and is generally believed to be true in that circle, was a myopic (melodramatic) fabrication. The father turns out to be a very decent and caring family man.

So far this would make for powerful irony exposing unpredictable life beneath the organized tapestry of fictions, deceitful in their haste to imagine drama. The woman is not a geisha, which would have been the assigned melodramatic role, but a hard-working hair dresser striving to raise a family.

Since both these people are not who we believed were going to be, and since the sole reason the father was sought after in the first place was to fulfill his part in social circumstances, this begs the question. How much of anyone else we meet and believe to know in context of those circumstances, is really that person?

But there is another point that really elevates this in my eyes. There is no clue that the mother has calculated to deceive, which would have been another ordinary trope of melodrama. She's just a lonely, hopelessly romantic creature. She spends her time writing poetry, funneling life she does not live into idle ruminations about living it. The intention I believe is to counterpoint this against the father's main activity: prospecting for gold in the hills, perhaps equally futile time spent but hard work spending it.

Melodrama about the dissolution of the same is what we have, marvelously so. What Naruse doesn't seem to notice, is that he replaces this with another melodrama in this second family that is the reverse of the first. Cessation is only half-accomplished but for the time this is enough.


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