Mizoguchi's response to the moral climate of post-WWII Japan finds him torn between modern liberalism and conservative tradition. Aristocratic Tanaka cleaves to the ancestral mansion on the outskirts of ever-expanding Tokyo, her loveless marriage to free-thinking translator Mori threatening to end her distinguished family line. When her handsome young cousin Katayama arrives back from the war, however, she's almost tempted into an affair, but consummating their relationship goes against her old-fashioned standards of behaviour. Mizoguchi builds characteristic sympathy for a woman hemmed in by her own code of honour. Yet, while there's a certain disdain for the adulterous intelligentsia around her, it's tempered by the admission that the progress of new freedom is inevitable. Although such contradiction perhaps renders this a minor entry in the director's canon, it's fascinating none the less, and determined Tanaka is as marvellous as ever.
Cast and crew