When a ronin requesting seppuku at a feudal lord's palace is told of the brutal suicide of another ronin who previously visited, he reveals how their pasts are intertwined - and in doing so challenges the clan's integrity.
Elderly couple Shukishi and Tomi Hirayama live in the small coastal village of Onomichi, Japan with their youngest daughter, schoolteacher Kyoko Hirayama. Their other three surviving adult children, who they have not seen in quite some time, live either in Tokyo or Osaka. As such, Shukishi and Tomi make the unilateral decision to have an extended visit in Tokyo with their children, pediatrician Koichi Hirayama and beautician Shige Kaneko, and their respective families (which includes two grandchildren). In transit, they make an unexpected stop in Osaka and stay with their other son, Keiso Hirayama. All of their children treat the visit more as an obligation than a want, each trying to figure out what to do with their parents while they continue on with their own daily lives. At one point, they even decide to ship their parents off to an inexpensive resort at Atami Hot Springs rather than spend time with them. The only offspring who makes a concerted effort on this trip is Noriko ...Written by
The original negative was lost soon after the film was completed, due to a fire at the vault of the lab in Yokohama city. The film had to be released using prints made from a dupe protective negative. See more »
At timer mark 1:45:46, when the children are visiting their mother at home and leave the room to talk with the father in an adjoining room, just as they sit on the floor, you see the shadow of the boom-mic just drop into the scene and back out again, just over the sons head on the top right of the screen. This shadow is well into the frame against the edge of what appears to be a bookshelf and should not be considered a masking mistake of the projectionist. See more »
The excuses we make to justify our neglect of others
An appreciation of this movie may demand some understanding of Japanese culture. The Japanese are rather reserved, and were even more reserved back in the early 1950's, when this film is set. No embracing, even of parents, children, siblings; no dramatic histrionics; even a death scene in this movie is much quieter than a Westerner might expect.
Consequently I can't really blame several reviewers here for calling this movie boring and slow-paced. But it is not at all slow-paced from a different cultural perspective. It just depends on what you're used to.
If you do take the time to watch and try to understand it, you'll find an engrossing analysis of the dynamic of a middle-class family, the rift that grows up between generations, and of the many excuses we find ourselves making to justify our neglect for others, even those dearest to us. These themes are universal, but are couched in a postwar Japanese idiom, and so probably less accessible to the average Western viewer.
I have wondered awhile about a speech at the end by Noriko, the widowed daughter-in-law, in which she denies that she's such a good person (though her actions in the movie indicate otherwise). I'm still not sure I understand her motives in saying this. For the most part, however, this movie will not leave you puzzled, but it may leave you a bit wiser, and a bit more reluctant to make those excuses.
96 of 111 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this