After seeing the first ever adaptation of The Ring in 1995's Ringu,I decided that I would double bill it with another,non-Horror Japanese film. Reading about auteur Mikio Naruse for years,I decided it was time to view one of his films for the first time.
View on the film:
Saying to his muse Takamine Hideko after he retired from film making that his ideal film would be "one with no exteriors and no sets-only actors working in front of white backdrops." directing auteur Mikio Naruse displays his razor sharp eye for minimalism with the perfected composition of Oshima at the centre of the frame throughout the film, and the background being given a washed out colour, which makes Oshima and the rest of the characters shine in the middle. Making each camera move highlight what stage Oshima is in her life, Naruse & cinematographer Masao Tamai gracefully sweep the camera along the rugged terrain of a mountain village, and track Oshima down the raining streets.
Set during the Taisho period (1912-26), Yôko Mizuki's adaptation of Shusei Tokuda's novel sparkles with an incredibly contemporary atmosphere of Oshima fighting not to be a "concubine" but her own woman. Episodically following Oshima, Mizuki makes each segment slot into a tapestry of Oshima's life,whisking the dialogue between the thoughtful, and the surprisingly coarsely cut . Bringing up the tragedies Oshima faces in her life, Mizuki holds the gloomy events from clouding Oshima's independent spirit, with a delicate comedic touch brimming in Oshima's encounters with her cheating ex-husbands. Holding Oshima's head high,Hideko Takamine gives a mesmerising, expressive performance,where every subtle change Takamine makes in Oshima withstanding all that is thrown at her, as Oshima looks everyone in the eye to tell them that she will remain untamed.