Part requiem, part enquiry, but all action, this scathing World War II epic is set during the costly 1944 Allied invasion of Italy.
A corrupt, post-war Japan comes under the focus of Ozu's unforgiving lens, as a middle-class family implodes in devastating fashion, with the possibility for redemption.
The similarities within Ozu's works (cast, titles, locations, concerns with family, interiors that looks the same to Western eyes) and the overall constancy of his concerns and style occasionally confuse viewers.
This film, however, (his last before moving to colour) has a slightly more intense basic situation than most. Within the inherently conservative middle-class Japanese family that is his world, he presents an almost dysfunctional group. The mother - presumed dead - has gone to live with another man. One daughter leaves her husband and a second, pregnant and unmarried, opts for an abortion. The father (Ryu) is left to cope.
As powerfully understated as anything by the Japanase master, and unquestionably his darkest film.
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