Being a housewife in a working-class mews in Osaka has grown wearying for Setsuko Hara. Life with Ken Uehara is a dull routine of breakfast with him reading the newspaper, her scrubbing the house, and him coming home late to announce he's hungry. It all boils over when his flibbertigibbet niece, Yukiko Shimazaki, shows up. She has run away from home, rather than marry the rich man her parents have chosen. Uehara buys tickets to take them all on a Sunday outing. Setsuko stays home to scrub the tatami mats. She wants to run away to Tokyo and her mother. She decides not to. She's going to leave that night. Maybe she'll leave in the morning. Mikio Naruse was one of the two principle directors of Shomin-Gekim dramas of the the working poor in Japan; the other was the revered Ozu, for whom Miss Hara often worked -- when Ozu died, she retired. Naruse's film looks far more like a conventional film than Ozu's -- moving shots, camera placement above the floor, and so forth -- but with this movie he tackles a story; Ozu may show the audience the working parts of his families -- because of their interchangeable casts, sometimes they all seem like the same family -- and how they work. His movies are group portraits. Naruse tackles the question of why they should work, why they should put up with the drudgery, and makes that voyage of self-discovery his film's story. Bob
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Michiyo lives in the small place Osaka and is not happy with her marriage, all she does is cook and clean for her husband.
January 2, 2022