Alternating in time, between the end of World War II and 1953, Haruko, a widow, does what she can to keep her daughter Utako and son Seiichi safe, fed, and sheltered. By 1953, it's clear ... See full summary »
Otsuta is running the geisha house Tsuta in Tokyo. Her business is heavily in debt. Her daughter Katsuyo doesn't see any future in her mothers trade in the late days of Geisha. But Otsuta ... See full summary »
Richard Thompson wrote a song called Small Town Romance that pretty well encapsulates the plot of this movie. It's highly unlikely but it's fun to imagine that he saw Tattered Wings before writing the song. Keizo, a salaryman who has been living in Tokyo, returns to his hometown for the first time in 5 years, to spend 10 days before being transferred to the farthest reaches of Japan. Still in town are his family and old friends, including his first love, Fuyuko (played by the always great Hideko Takamine), who left him to marry a rich man because her family needed the money. Once he discovers she is widowed after 3 years of an unhappy marriage, he decides to pursue her again. But is she as happy to see him? The story is a drama, but a very quiet one, where a gesture or an expression on one's face speaks volumes. I liked the movie but my ignorance about two key features kept me from enjoying it more. One was cultural. There was a lot of talk about old fashioned vs. new fashioned. I imagine that changing social mores were a little slower coming to small towns than cities like Tokyo, but it was still hard to figure out why some people were so worried about things that seemed perfectly innocent to me. Then there was the Andre Gide novel Strait Is The Gate that Fuyuko had loaned to Keizo when they were younger. The Wikipedia article on it makes it sound like an inversion of Tattered Wings' plot. Lots of references are made in the movie to the book (even the movie's title is a reference) so I'm guessing I would have understood a lot more if I had read the book. Still given the great cinematography and music that seem to be in every Kinoshita movie, as well as another great performance by Hideko Takamine, I would say this is a movie that should be seen by all fans of old Japanese movies.
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