|WIFE (TSUMA) (director: Mikio Naruse; screenwriters: Toshiro Ide/from the novel by Fumiko Hayashi; cinematographer: Masao Tamai; editor: Eiji Ooi; music: Ichirô Saitô; cast: Mieko Takamine (Mihoko Nakagawa), Ken Uehara (Toichi Nakagawa), Rentarô Mikuni (Tadashi Tanimura), Yatsuko Tanami (Fusako), Chieko Nakakita (Eiko Matsuyama), Hajime Izu (Hirohisa Matsuyama), Yoshimi Niemura (Michiyo Aratama), Setsuko Sakurai (Sanae Takasugi), Yoshiko Tsubouchi (Taeko Niemura); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sanezumi Fujimoto; Criterion Collection (Janus); 1953-Japan-in Japanese with English subtitles)|
by Dennis Schwartz
as a women's director and an introvert, Mikio Naruse
("Hit and Run"/"When
a Woman Ascends the Stairs"/"Mother")
made shomin-geki films
depicting the Japanese
lower classes. Writer Toshiro
Ide bases this flawed but powerful
Ozu-like dramedy on the novel by
female author Fumiko Hayashi. The
intelligent but bleak film was too tedious to cause
excitement, even if it critically examined married
life for its disappointments. It is shot in black and
Mihoko (Mieko Takamine) and Toichi
Nakagawa (Ken Uehara)
are locked into a loveless marriage after ten years.
She's troubled that he doesn't make enough money to
support her, treats her more like a servant than a
wife and that she has to work to make ends meet.
Meanwhile hubby is not attracted to his wife, thinks
she's a lousy cook and is turned off by her nagging.
(Yatsuko Tanami) is an ex-colleague's widow with
a small child, who seduces the vulnerable hubby to
give her support. The wife discovers the affair and
seeks advice from her sister, two of her
friends, her parents, and from some of her not too
helpful lodgers (Rentaro Mikuni).
thinks about leaving his wife, but doesn't. She fights
to get him back, but wonders if it's worth it.
stands out as a thoughtful film about relationships
and how women are viewed by society as second-class
REVIEWED ON 6/25/2015 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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