19yo girl loses husband in war. Bombing destroys his family's shop and the widow stays to rebuild it as the rest of the family flee and runs it for 18 years out of love for her dead husband... See full synopsis »
Shiba, a wandering ronin, encounters a band of peasants who have kidnapped the daughter of their dictatorial magistrate, in hopes of coercing from him a reduction in taxes. Shiba takes up ... See full summary »
What is the life of a Geisha like once her beauty has faded and she has retired? Kin has saved her money, and has become a wealthy money-lender, spending her days cold-heartedly collecting ... See full summary »
Tokyo. Mihoko and Toichi Nakagawa's ten year marriage is crumbling out of inertia. Each knows the other isn't happy, they themselves aren't happy, but they don't talk about their problems ... 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 »
Edmund Rostand's play Cyrano de Bergerac, transplanted to Japan. A poet-warrior with an oversized nose (matched only by his great heart) loves a lady. But she sees him only as a friend, so ... See full summary »
A Wife's Heart is my long anticipated return to the films of Mikio Naruse. He's simply an incredible filmmaker that stands his ground with Ozu, Kurosawa, and Kobayashi. This film is a simple pleasure, but conveys the complications of relationships we all have. A couple, that live with the husband's mother, start to focus on turning a patch of empty land into a café. However, his brother soon turns up asking for some of the loan money as he is out of a job. The film looks at some difficult themes, such as duty to oneself rather than a family member. It's heartbreaking to see so much effort go into a dream, and then see loved ones beg for help. No one is a villain, but everyone is slightly self-centered. Whether they are unwittingly leading on another man, asking their son for too much, being a coward etc. These are everyday occurrences, but from Naruse's expert eye, they are presented with a freshness not seen these days. The climax is of a character overhearing a laugh, which in-turn makes her smile. It's these kinds of sweet, visual gestures, that make his films a pleasure to watch. Takamine gives a powerful performance. She's a woman that is beaten down by everyday life, but refuses to lash out against it. Her attraction to Mifune grows naturally, in a way even she doesn't realize.
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