Another distinctly Japanese film about the common life in the countryside, this was one delightful watch! Denjirô Ôkôchi as the titular character puts in an understated yet dramatic performance, and the movie takes shape around him. Ohara Shosuke-san is a generous man who is rather addicted to sake and gambling. He cannot refuse a favor, and touches a lot of lives, but through his own laziness and alcoholism-plus-gambling, loses all his money and struggles to repay debts, morphing as a man and making a few realizations on his way. Shot with a breezy quality and a great soundtrack, the countryside comes alive on screen, a few frames are truly majestic. The camera-work is steady and mostly based on long takes, and it suits the film perfectly. I loved the way it captures the gradual breakdown of a carefree man, how effortlessly drama is mixed with emotional resonance, the scenes of Ohara Shosuke-san on the rain-drenched courtyard is unforgettable. Chôko Iida as Oseki, the housemaid, has a tremendous cameo and her conversation with Ohara is a perfect climax. The anti-climax is shot beautifully too, as the film ends on a bittersweet note, trying to tell us that a life of service is impervious to material sufferings. And it seriously rings so honest that you end up rooting for him - an alcoholic, an irresponsible man - yet more human than most others. Another thing worth mentioning is the way the Japanese houses of the time are shot, very much like Madadayo. A great watch, catch it if you can.
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