Not Blood Relations

Judith Rosenberg on Piano

(Nasanu naka). Naruse was commissioned to make Not Blood Relations by the Shochiku studio, which wanted to continue a string of hit films based on famous melodramatic novels. Working with a script by Kogo Noda, who co-wrote many of Ozu's films, including Tokyo Story, Naruse added nuance and psychological acuity to the story of a woman who abandoned her daughter seven years ago but now wants to win her back. Though she can offer a better standard of living, the biological mother finds herself in a struggle with the girl's adoptive mother-“not blood relations”-whom the girl prefers. Naruse rejects the good mother/bad mother schema that many other films indulged in, concentrating on the emotional turmoil of the woman who learns that she cannot easily undo her past.

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