Setsuko is unhappily to Mimura, an engineer with no job and a bad drinking habit. She had always been in love with Hiroshi but both of them failed to propose when Hiroshi left for France a ... See full summary »
Setsuko is unhappily to Mimura, an engineer with no job and a bad drinking habit. She had always been in love with Hiroshi but both of them failed to propose when Hiroshi left for France a few years ago. Now he is back and Mariko (Setsuko's sister) tries to reunite them. She too is secretly in love with Hiroshi. Written by
From what I've heard, this is one of the least revered Ozu films, but after first glance I find it to be one of the most fascinating. A naive but zealous girl (Hideko Takamine) proposes marriage to a man who is in love with her sister (Kinuyo Tanaka) who is trapped in a loveless marriage; this is the girl's way of showing concern for her sister, by keeping the man she really loves but cannot have close at hand. It's an odd mix of high comedy and stark social commentary on the social boundaries that define women's roles, and for me it shows as much tonal range as anything I've seen in other Ozu films -- frivolous flirtatious interludes, sincere and tender romantic exchanges, and stark moments of violent rage are held in precarious balance thanks to Ozu's rock solid powers of observation. It's worth seeing this film as Ozu playing as self-consciously and inventively with genres as he did in the 30s -- the girl in some scenes narrates the action like a benshi. I definitely see this as a reworking of WHAT DID THE LADY FORGET?, revisiting the setup of the liberated meddling gamine overturning the fragile co-existence between a hapless housewife and the helpless husband; this time the scene of domestic violence is given the full measure of subtext and consequence that was lacking in the earlier film, adding resonance to what otherwise might be misjudged as straight melodrama. A difficult film to pin down, but no less alluring for it.
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