The story of a necessarily short-lived friendship between children, set in a riverside suburb of Osaka in the mid-1950s, not yet witness to Japan's Economic Miracle. A war widow and her two kids moor their houseboat opposite a small restaurant, and the kids befriend Nobuo, the shy young son of the restaurateur. The woman surreptitiously carries out the only trade she can to support herself and her children. The film centres on Nobuo, the lower middle class boy, and observes (without undue sentimentality) his discoveries in rapid succession of class difference and sex. The movie is based on a novel, whence doubtless the metaphor that underpins the tale (the mud of experience), but Oguri's direction is not in the least literary: he trusts his sharp black-and-white images to dramatise the spaces between the characters, and gets performances of natural maturity from his young actors. Oguri's first feature, it's one from the heart.
Cast and crew