This adaptation of Aya Koda's autobiographical novel about life with her famous novelist father Rohan was a project Ichikawa had to fight for, and it brought him significant commercial success in Japan. It's a study of loneliness within the family, as the scholarly patriarch remains distant while his rheumatic wife (Tanaka) schemes to drive a wedge between the tearaway tubercular son (Kawaguchi) and the sister (Kishi) who dotes on him to a perhaps unhealthy degree. The potential for melodrama is obvious, but Ichikawa opts for restraint, refusing easy sentimentality and even denying us tearful release by abruptly pulling out of the tragic final scene. Instead, the theme of the transience of happiness comes through in the rainwater imagery keyed in the opening sequence, and the deliberately washed out treatment of the film stock to resemble faded old photographs of the Taisho era (1912-26) in which the film is set. Its steely delicacy is most distinctive.
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