If you're looking for a movie that deals with clingy relationships, then Floating Clouds is without a doubt a movie that fits the bill to a T. Directed by Naruse Mikio and based upon the novel by Fumiko Hayashi, the female character in the movie will bring back memories of those who have had to deal with such stifling clinging, and well, for those who do act as such, a stark and accurate portrayal that would be akin to holding up a mirror and looking at oneself.
Hideko Takamine put up a commendable, if not personally what I deem as a remarkably irritating performance as Yukiko Koda, a woman perhaps with little self-esteem and respect, who decided to sacrifice an entire forest for one singular tree. Being sent to Indochina during WWII, she chances upon Kengo Tomioka (Masayuki Mori), and while he seemed to be prim and proper, and not giving her a second glance, soon they fall in love with each other, one despite having a wife back home, and the other, knowingly being the other woman.
But when the war ends and they get repatriated back to Japan, she looks him up, only to discover that he will not leave his wife, nor to rekindle their passion started in a foreign land. To make things worse, she discovers he's quite the cad, and to compound the problem, her insecurities and her paranoia makes you wonder why she can't afford to sever ties. It's one thing being made to suffer from unrequited love, but it's another if you are made to suffer deliberately, and bear witness to the insincerity of the other party. Running slightly over 2 hours, it does take its time to showcase the sorry state that Yukiko undergoes.
You can't really find fault with Naruse Mikio's direction of the movie
the handling of the narrative structure in the first act was deft,
with the transition of time seamless, and the actors do their job to allow you to connect with their characters. However, like I mentioned, perhaps Yukiko Koda did such a fine job, that for me I found her to be a tad too irritating, even for my liking.
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