6.9/10
261
3 user 10 critic

No Blood Relation (1932)

Nasanunaka (original title)
An actress returns to Tokyo after a successful stint in Hollywood to reclaim - with the help of her gangster brother - the daughter she abandoned years before.

Director:

Mikio Naruse

Writers:

Shunyo Yanagawa (novel), Kôgo Noda
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Cast

Cast overview:
Yoshiko Okada Yoshiko Okada ... Tamae Kiyooka
Shin'yô Nara Shin'yô Nara ... Shunsaku Atsumi
Yukiko Tsukuba Yukiko Tsukuba ... Masako, Atsumi's wife
Toshiko Kojima Toshiko Kojima ... Shigeko, Atsumi's daughter
Fumiko Katsuragi Fumiko Katsuragi ... Kishiyo, Atsumi's mother
Jôji Oka Jôji Oka ... Masaya Kusakabe (as Joji Oka)
Ichirô Yûki Ichirô Yûki ... Keiji Makino
Shozaburo Abe Shozaburo Abe ... Gen the Pelican
Ken'ichi Miyajima Ken'ichi Miyajima ... Secretary
Kanji Kawahara Kanji Kawahara ... Detective
Kenji Ôyama Kenji Ôyama ... Lodger
Kikuko Hanaoka Kikuko Hanaoka ... Waitress
Tomio Aoki Tomio Aoki ... Neighbour's child
Ryuko Fuji Ryuko Fuji ... Boarding house lady
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Storyline

An actress returns to Tokyo after a successful stint in Hollywood to reclaim - with the help of her gangster brother - the daughter she abandoned years before.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

16 December 1932 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

No Blood Relation See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (16 mm)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Onlookers, ships
26 February 2012 | by chaos-rampantSee all my reviews

The film opens with a whip pan blurring a 360 circle around a middle-class Tokyo neighborhood and an intertitle popping-up to announce 'Thief!'. A crowd runs across the street and clamors around a man. Outraged at the accusations, he makes a vehement public display, a show, that allows him to extricate himself. Only in the following scene do we recognize that we were, in fact, tricked. All this prefigures main tenets in the film about trickery, motion, acting, bargains, subterfuge, moral dilemmas and cleverly situates us inside the movie as part of the crowd of onlookers who will have to surmise a plot from the spirals of deceit.

Ordinarily it would be about sex and money as the main objects of power. Here the coveted treasure is a child. Motherhood is the social role worth deceiving for. The plot is about a famous Hollywood actress coming back from the Americas to reclaim the daughter she abandoned. Meanwhile the child is growing up with her dad and stepmother.

So a double perspective is what we have, on one hand the love and safety of the family nest, but which exists on a certain dishonesty on the part of the father and the ability of the stepmother to perform a role, on the other hand the biological mother who really wishes to atone and make good, noble intentions but once more obscured by deceit and pretending. The father is sent to prison for financial mismanagement, karmic payback.

So the first layer is successful, a melodrama but structured in such a way as to allow us to recast tumultuous dramatic life as a matter of theatric conventions. The household is the stage. Actresses vie for control of the kid's innocent gaze. The larger world is the adults' organized cruelty.

This is fine. But there is no additional layer as a way of annotating the first in terms of images being performed. This would involve our gaze next to the kid's. The camera would travel around the edges of who these people present themselves to be. Instead you will notice that the camera is always thrust in the face of the participants, head-on, anxious, like a mic set up for a comment. They comment but always as expected after first meeting them.

The audience is never really outwitted as promised by the opening scene of deceit in broad daylight. There is never any serious doubt about who the daughter belongs with. Morally the thing is of simple value.

Sternberg was getting this part right at around the same time, staging images in a way that we became complicit in dreaming about them.


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