An old man, being rowed along a river, sees a field of daisies (or Wild Chrysanthemums, as they are described in the title, or starworts, as they are referred to in the subtitles), and ... See full summary »
A flashback story of a young man, from his disgraced birth ,his harsh life and his forbidden love, until when broken-hearted, can break out in search of a place where to live means more than being alive.
The twenty-fifth feature directed by Kinoshita Keisuke, Distant Clouds (Tooi kumo) opens with the arrival of an earnest young man (then newcomer Tamura Takahiro, looking slightly out of his depth) back to his hometown for a brief visit before starting a job in a faraway location. Now at a crossroads between tradition and modernity, the place is riddled with memories of his one-time romance with a woman (a radiant-looking Takamine Hideko) who was forced to marry into a prominent household but is now widowed with a young daughter. The complex web of relations and sentiments in a smalltown setting anticipates Kinoshita's 1959 Snow Flurry, among others. He adroitly situates the film's emotional stakes within the larger social context, neither sentimentalizing old customs and values nor glorifying nonconformity. Though she suffered abuse at the hands of her husband, Takamine's new family, including a brother-in-law (Kinoshita regular Sada Keiji) who quietly harbors some feelings for her, turns out to be compassionate and enlightened, making her decision to rekindle the old flame that much more difficult. The physical barriers under or behind which Takamine is often captured serve as metaphors for social and emotional barriers, and André Gide's Strait is the Gait is employed as a token of the past that can never be recaptured. Also known as The Tattered Wings, this fifth collaboration between Kinoshita and Takamine in as many yearsalso featured are the director's usual team of DP/brother-in-law Kusuda Hiroyuki; music director/brother Kinoshita Chûji; and former assistant, now co-writer, not to mention Takamine's husband, Matsuyama Zenzôis one of Kinoshita's more subtle and exquisite melodramas.
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