Alternating in time, between the end of World War II and 1953, Haruko, a widow, does what she can to keep her daughter Utako and son Seiichi safe, fed, and sheltered. By 1953, it's clear ... See full summary »
There doesn't seem to be much written about this film. It tells the story of a clash between Japanese castes. There seems to be a privileged group, city dwellers, and a sort of untouchable group from the little villages. There is great hostility from the upper crust, even violence. There is, however, an equality movement being pushed which, understandably, isn't thought too highly of by the dominant class. Into the picture comes a young man who has become a teacher, but carries with him a secret: he functions within the upper class while actually being from a village. He has fallen in love with a young woman whose father was part of the samurai class, which is at the very top. So he has issues when rumors start circulating about him. Eventually, he must face a real case of cowardice and decide whether to do the right thing. This film is hard to watch because of all the gut wrenching and soul searching. The young teacher goes into convulsions of tears and tears at his hair. I know this may be part of the Japanese self of the time, but I tired of the constant whining and inaction. The strength of the film is that it has some fine cinematography. It captures an era about which I know little. It's propagandistic and so slow. I can see why it isn't considered in the same way as other films of its ilk.
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