Older Brother, Younger Sister

Featuring fine performances by Machiko Kyo and Masayuki Mori (Ugetsu, Rashomon), Older Brother, Younger Sister is a dark drama of obsessive family relationships in a rural town. When Mon, the daughter of an authoritarian father who has come into hard times, returns home from Tokyo pregnant, her brother Inokichi's rage sends her back to the city and the life of a streetwalker. Meanwhile, the scandal dashes the youngest sister San's modest domestic hopes. Probably Naruse's most violent film, both emotionally and physically, it nevertheless remains relatively plotless, its focus more on stasis than movement. As Joseph L. Anderson and Donald Richie wrote in The Japanese Film: “Looking at the later, and best films, one is struck again and again by the dark negation of Naruse's world. Older Brother, Younger Sister presents a family trapped by its own construction, each member unable to move because of the others.”

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