Yearning

With its hopping street life, whirring motor scooters, vibes music, and nihilist hero (the pop singer Yuzo Kayama), Yearning could almost be mistaken for a film by one of Japan's younger generation working at the time, such as Masahiro Shinoda. Enter war widow Hideko Takamine, no longer young but youthful with unresolved yearning, and this film's beautiful tension between old and new, melodrama and New Wave anti-melodrama, begins to emerge. Reiko (Takamine) struggles to keep her provincial mom-and-pop store afloat against the advent of the supermarket. Living with her in-laws, who are chief among those trying to squeeze her out of her business, she becomes the protector of her young brother-in-law, who is given to drinking and womanizing until he astonishes her with the confession that he is in love with her. In resolving his heroine's dilemma, caught between duty and passion, Naruse resolves his own, coming down on the side of tragic grace.

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