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A Wanderer's Notebook (1962)
"Hourou-ki" (original title)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 197 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 2 critic

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... See full synopsis »

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(autobiography), (novel), 2 more credits »
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Title: A Wanderer's Notebook (1962)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Fumiko Hayashi
Akira Takarada ...
Fukuya
Daisuke Katô ...
Nobuo Sadaoka
Keiju Kobayashi ...
Fujiyama
...
Kishi, Fumiko's mother
Mitsuko Kusabue ...
Kyôko Hinatsu
Noboru Nakaya ...
Haruhiko Itatsu
Yûnosuke Itô ...
Gorô Shirasaka
Jun Tatara ...
Tamura
Masao Oda ...
Fumiko's father
Takeshi Katô ...
Uenoyama
Tomoko Fumino ...
Yasuko Murano
Natsuko Kahara
Chôko Iida
Machiko Kitagawa
Edit

Storyline

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... See full synopsis »

Add Full Plot | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 September 1962 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Lonely Lane  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

 
A quiet, sad film
22 February 2006 | by (Upstate New York) – See all my reviews

Hourou-ki (1962) was shown at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago with the title Her Lonely Lane. The film was co-produced and directed by Mikio Naruse, and is based on an autobiography written by Fumiko Hayashi. The film stars Hideko Takamine as Fumiko Hayashi.

This is the first Naruse film I've seen, and I feel as if I'm starting at the end of a cycle rather than at the beginning. Naruse had adapted several books by Hayashi for the screen, and this was the last. In the same way, Takamine was one of the director's favorite female actors, who had worked with him on several previous films. Under those circumstances, I can only give a general review of the film--I wish I could have seen it in sequence after having seen some of the others.

As a director, Naruse reminds me of Ozu. The movie is quiet, and the camera work is unobtrusive. The film is very sad. As portrayed in the movie, Hayashi's childhood and young adulthood were spent in bitter poverty. This is shown as something far beyond low income--Hayashi often doesn't have enough to eat, and has to take a succession of low-end jobs just to have enough money to pay for her meals and to send funds to her equally impoverished parents.

It's interesting that the film--and presumably the book--doesn't portray the protagonist as a saint. Hayashi not only makes bad choices, especially in men, but she commits a truly unethical act in order to advance her own literary career.

Even at the end, when the older Hayashi is wealthy and famous, she is scarred by the life she left behind. Rather than being portrayed as a kind, benevolent mentor, she is shown as shrewd, bitter, and self-serving.

I enjoyed this film, but I struggled somewhat with cultural differences about which I was uncertain, and subtitles which I suspect didn't do justice to the dialog. Even so, it was a privilege to be able to see this rare film and to learn of a new (for me) and highly talented Japanese director.


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