Sudden Rain

A comic-melancholic exercise in repetition and counterpoint, with precisely calibrated domestic irritations set to delicate piano. Setsuko Hara and Shuji Sano are a husband and wife well rehearsed in daily routine, he with his newspaper, she at her knitting, carefully framed in separate rooms. She wants to go out, he'd rather stay home and “enjoy family life,” but there's little enjoyment to be had in a household plagued by money worries, distracting neighbors, and a newlywed niece with troubles of her own. The everyday pressures gradually build toward a breaking point as the wife's wallet is lifted, the husband's job threatened, and neighborhood squabbles intensify. Yet the film denies a dramatic denouement, ending instead in a state of suspension, with the couple engaged in an ambivalent game. The surface tension could hold indefinitely-or a slight shift in perspective could change everything.

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