Repast • めし
めし dir:成瀬 巳喜男 1951
めし, made in 1951 is much better than When a Woman Ascends the Stairs.
Visually not very exciting, but this film has more of a sense of place. Parts of it were even shot on location in Osaka. It was interesting to see places I recognised such as Dontonburi, Shin Kabukiza and the Kuidaore Ningyo.
The characters were believable and this time I could empathise with them. Maybe unusually for any film of this period the major characters are women. The men are definitely the supporting cast and apart from the husband character very much in the background. Indeed this is a recurring motif for Naruse.
The story mainly is about a young housewife, Michiyo, who is dissatisfied with her endless lot of cooking and cleaning for her husband. They are not well off and live in a small house. And yet the husband isn’t a bad man. Maybe a bit absorbed in his job and newspaper but not demanding and quite sympathetic and even kind. Michiyo’s dissatisfaction is made worse when a young niece comes to stay after running away from her home in Tokyo. The young girls freedoms (and possible designs on the husband) do not make for a happy household.
It is an interesting period film. I think maybe the attitudes would be unknown and strange to modern Japanese. The resolution I found very Japanese but true to it’s time I’d say.
As usual worth a rental.