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A Story Written with Water (1965)

Mizu de kakareta monogatari (original title)
A young man who's about to marry is torn between his fiancée and the love for his mother. His past, dreams and desires unfold simultaneously.


Yoshishige Yoshida


Yôjirô Ishizaka (novel), Toshirô Ishidô (screenplay) | 2 more credits »




Credited cast:
Mariko Okada Mariko Okada ... Shizuka / Shizuo's mother
Yasunori Irikawa Yasunori Irikawa ... Shizuo / Yumiko's fiance
Ruriko Asaoka Ruriko Asaoka ... Yumiko / Shizuo's fiancee
Isao Yamagata ... Denzo / Shizuo's father
Shin Kishida ... Takao / Shizuo's father (as Mori Kishida)
Masakazu Kuwayama Masakazu Kuwayama ... Yamazaki / Shizuo's boss (as Shôichi Kuwayama)
Keiko Yumi Keiko Yumi ... Geisha
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kimiko Kayo Kimiko Kayo
Aiko Masuda Aiko Masuda
Kaoru Mimura Kaoru Mimura
Wataru Nakagawa Wataru Nakagawa
Takao Nakamura Takao Nakamura
Hideaki Satô Hideaki Satô
Fudeko Tanaka Fudeko Tanaka ... Old woman


Shizuo discovers a mysterious letter about his fiancé Yumiko, which prompts him to explore his sexual psychology and memories. His childhood and adult life unfold simultaneously, and he feels increasingly obligated to choose between mother and fiancé. Whichever choice he makes, it seems one will rule out the other. Written by MichelleYeohFan

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User Reviews

Another work of art from Yoshishige Yoshida
26 November 2014 | by mevmijaumauSee all my reviews

A Story Written with Water is a very significant film in Yoshishige Yoshida's career. It's the first of his six "anti-melodramas", the last one being Farewell to the Summer Light in 1968. These films, aside from offering kick-ass black and white photography, dealt with the themes of one's turbulent past, history, eroticism, psychoanalysis and basic human desires and passions.

This movie is a touching family drama about a young man torn between the love of his fiancée and his mother. The plot is intercut with various flashbacks, and sometimes the protagonist's dreams which successfully break the overall realistic tone of the film. After a turn of events, he becomes unsure whether or not his fiancée (now wife) is his own sister. This is not the only case of implied incest. His relations with his mother (played by Yoshida's wife Mariko Okada) complicates things further, and throughout the film it's implied that something is off between the two of them, even going as far to suggest a case of Oedipus' complex.

The title of the film comes from the fact that water plays an important part in the movie's structure. It ends on a lake (or some other huge body of water), the dream scene is set on a beach and the most important flashback, the bathhouse one, needs no explanation. Some scenes even suggest that water somehow personifies (motherly) love, such as the one where the protagonist feels ill and asks for a glass of water from his mother, or when the two of them bath together in the bathhouse.

Yoshida frames interior scenes in any way possible - basically any camera position goes. People are seen through multiple sets of doors and windows or through vertical bars, obscured by mesh and transparent curtains, seen through rear-view mirrors etc. The most prominent visual motif is the mother's white umbrella, which appears in almost every scene connected with her, down to the very final shot.

What can I say about this director... He's so unknown and under-appreciated that it makes me sad. The man is/was truly a genius.

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Release Date:

23 November 1965 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

A Story Written with Water See more »

Filming Locations:

Ueda, Nagano, Japan See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Chunichi Eigasha See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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