The Whole Family Works

Under the nose of military censors, Naruse made this quiet drama of a family's struggle to make ends meet under Depression conditions made worse, it is implied but not stated, by the war against China. Mr. Ishimura is a factory worker and father of nine. He has trouble enough supporting his family-as the title implies-but when his oldest son Kiichi announces his desire to “take five years off” to go to school, family tensions rise to the surface and become unbearable. From the intimate, cluttered family environment Naruse so skillfully creates spills a broader social message, less typical of this director, who adapted a story by the progressive writer Sunao Tokunaga, showing how the poorest citizens carry the burden of a nation's ambitions. While complying with the military demand for “inspirational” films on filial piety, Naruse movingly depicts a generation holding its dreams in check for the war to come.

This page may by only partially complete. For additional information about this film, view the original entry on our archived site.