Yôko Tsukasa cannot fill the shoes of the great Hadeko Takamine
Scattered Clouds (Mikio Naruse, 1967) - 8.25/10
Probably the biggest disappointment that I've encountered so far with Naruse but in my mind, he really can do no wrong. This doesn't have quite as much insight as Ozu's swan song An Autumn Afternoon. Frankly, it's a very good example of how Naruse can walk a fine line between melodrama and tragedy. Yôko Tsukasa, unfortunately, is not an adequate replacement for the great Hideko Takamine. Fumiko Hayashi, who wrote many of Naruse's great post-war dramas isn't present either, instead replaced by Nobuo Yamada who is mostly known for writing Masahiro Shinoda's Assassination. It's not that the story is particularly bad, but it's just perfectly set up for melodrama. It begins with a death in the family, much like in Naruse's Daughters, Wives, and a Mother but seems to take the exact opposite route. Where as the tragedy in that film is very much downplayed, it seems to be, if anything, magnified here. Despite all this, it is one of his more technically impressive efforts and probably the one with the least amount of dialogue. The opening sequence, in particular, was quite a surprise. It would be smart to read most of the negative comments I left about this film as a comparison to Naruse's other efforts because this is still a very good film but at this point, I expect a little bit more from him.
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