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A woman looks back on her family's life in Tokyo before and during WWII. A maid arrives from the countryside to work for an upper middle class family. She fits in well, but everyone's emotions are stirred up with the arrival of a student.
Kitamichi is a 19-year-old labor worker. He develops feelings for Yasuko who works in a used used bookstore, but he has never had a girlfriend. He also befriends Kusakabe, but jealousy soon threatens their friendship.
The opening shot is reminiscent of OZU's FLOATING WEEDS in which NAKAMURA GANJIRO and KYO MACHIKO had a shouting match in the rain, taking shelters in an alley separated by the hard rain. KYO had a red umbrella. So did this opening. A woman who wears the exact kimono KYO wore runs across the screen, breaking the tension between Young mother and her son, Kosaku. Beautiful tribute to the OZU masterpiece.
The film starts with the hard rain and ends with the end of rain. Young mother gives Kosaku a lucky charm in the opening. Aged Kosaku returns the lucky charm to his mother in the coffin in the end. Fascinating book-end effect! In between, many scenes involving water. At one point, Kosaku refers "Sea" as metaphor of Death.
His second daughter leaves for Hawaii by the sea reminiscent to the departure episode in TOKYO TWILIGHT. OZU tributes everywhere, yet the characters are deep on their own. Probably deeper than any characters in OZU films.
And then INGMAR BERGMAN. I think the basic situation of the novelist/antagonist is similar to GUNNAR BJORNSTRAND role in THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY.
This film won the Special Jury Grand Prix at the 2011 Montreal World Film Festival. How come it's not recorded in the award column?
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