Director: Yasujiro Ozu

144 minutes| Japan| 1956| Subtitled| Black and White| 35mm

This film screened 2nd & 3rd January 2010.

This multi-character drama intently dissects the fortunes of the generation which served in or survived the war, then spent the 1950s trying to settle down to family life and white-collar jobs. It’s not easy for office drone Ryo Ikebe, since his marriage to Chikage Awashima is in a parlous state and he’s drawn to lonely co-worker Keiko
Kishi, before friends and colleagues of both husband and wife try to help them get back on track.
What the film tells us is that Japan’s economic miracle was not without its cost, since Ikebe takes to the drink to dispel the worry he’s going to be stuck slaving away on a low wage, while his missus can hardly keep house on his meagre salary. Ozu, of course, offers understanding but no easy solutions in a story which has hardly dated in over half a century. Notes by Trevor Johnston

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