The story of a family in Tokyo who live under the same roof in a large house and include the widowed sixty-year-old mother, older son and his wife, the youngest daughter and the older ...
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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 »
Woman can't find a decent job, meanwhile being dumped by her boyfriend and writing on the side. people say her writing on poverty is good, but she can't sell it and continues with dead end ... See full synopsis »
The story of a family in Tokyo who live under the same roof in a large house and include the widowed sixty-year-old mother, older son and his wife, the youngest daughter and the older daughter who, while being married, is experiencing domestic problems and has moved back in. The latter woman's husband soon dies however making the move permanent. With life insurance money flowing in she not only can afford to pay rent, but also loan some cash to her brother who unbeknownst to his mother has taken on a loan from the bank with the house as collateral. The loan was needed as his wife's aunt's factory needs an infusion of funds. Written by
DAUGHTER, WIVES, MOTHER (MUSUME TSUMA HAHA, 1960) is one of six color films directed by Mikio Naruse and it tells the story of an extended family facing various domestic crises, not least of which is the possible loss of the family home. It's very much in Yasujiro Ozu territory, going so far as to invoke Ozu's masterpiece, TOKYO STORY (1953), as it focuses on a matriarch and her five children and their various spouses or significant others and the looming question of what to do with the mother and who should take responsibility for her if they have to give up the house. The connection to the earlier film is further underlined by the casting of all two of the main actors from that film (Setsuko Hara, Chishu Ryu) in different roles in this film. Unlike the earlier film, however, the mother here has a number of options and makes a striking choice late in the film to serve her own needs. One character even makes an Ozu-like decision based on what she thinks will be best for the family, only to learn that the family has other ideas, making her self-sacrifice in vain. Another difference from Ozu is that Setsuko Hara, a frequent star of Ozu films, playing the oldest daughter here, a widow courted by two suitors, smiles a lot, something she doesn't do much for Ozu. In several scenes, she seems to be having a good time, including a couple of dates with suitor Tatsuya Nakadai, whom I've never seen smile so much either. They even kiss each other when they find themselves alone in her brother's apartment. I don't think I've ever seen a show of passion like that in Ozu.
Naruse's regular star Hideko Takamine (FLOATING CLOUDS) plays Hara's sister-in-law and I believe this is the only film in which she and Hara, two powerhouses of Japanese acting, appear together. (It's also the only film in which Hara and Nakadai appear together.) Also on hand are Akira Takarada (GOJIRA), Hiroshi Koizumi (MOTHRA), Reiko Dan (WHEN A WOMAN ASCENDS THE STAIRS), Daisuke Kato (THE SEVEN SAMURAI) and Masayuki Mori as the self-centered unrepentant weakling he seems to play in every other Naruse film I've seen him in. The two old mothers in the film, the family matriarch and her middle daughter's mother-in-law, played by Aiko Mimasu and Haruko Sugimura, respectively, are only 60, but are made up and directed to look and act much older. (Both actresses were about 50 when they made this film.) The two mothers even visit an old people's home and everyone else there is obviously 20-30 years older! Ozu regular Chishu Ryu, the father in TOKYO STORY, even turns up as an old man (he was 55 at the time). Overall, this is an excellent Japanese family drama and quite a change of pace for Naruse from the earlier films of his that I've seen.
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