Daughters, Wives, and a Mother

The writer and critic Susan Sontag was a great admirer of this drama about a middle-class Tokyo family thrown into crisis by a car accident and an insurance windfall. A splendid cast (including the redoubtable Tatsuya Nakadai) carries off a film of narrative complexity, appropriately shot in CinemaScope. Chris Fujiwara wrote in Film Comment: “(This) is another film in which Naruse compares the ideal of life-what the characters suppose themselves to be living-with its reality. . . . Again and again in Naruse's films, the internal coherence of the family is an illusion that's exposed the moment a crisis loosens the bonds among the family members (instead of doing what people like to believe a crisis does, bringing them together).”

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