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A Wife's Heart (Tsuma No Kokoro) (1956) Mikio Naruse; Toshiro Mifune
A Wife's Heart (Tsuma No Kokoro) (1956) Mikio Naruse; Toshiro Mifune


 
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This is a region-free DVD-R without case or artwork.

In Japanese with English subtitles.

The best moments of A Wife's Heart involve things not said or seen and this is most explicit in the interactions between Kiyoko (Hideko Takamine) and her bank clerk bachelor confidant Kenkichi (Toshiro Mifune). Kiyoko, along with her husband Shinji (Keiju Kobayashi), wants to open a coffee shop and so goes to Kenkichi to ask for a loan. Director Mikio Naruse never focuses on the duo's talk of money; as filmed, their entire relationship is a series of beginnings and endings with the middles cut out. It is at first purely a business association, though after Shinji (at the manipulative behest of his matchmaker mother) gives a majority of the loan to his deadbeat brother Zenichi, Kiyoko starts to think that her feelings for Kenkichi may be more then platonic.

Following through on his setup, Naruse never lets either character nakedly confess their heart's desire. The closest they come is during a sequence, set against the backdrop of a torrential downpour, where Kenkichi utters the first few words of a thought that he will never finish. In other hands this scene might have played as masochistic repression, but Naruse allows the rainstorm to act as an expressive emotional outlet—nature thus concludes what Kenkichi cannot.

Average Rating: Average Rating: 5 of 5 5 of 5 Total Reviews: 1 Write a review »

  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
 
5 of 5 Drama starring Hideko Takamine as an unhappy wife. February 20, 2019
Reviewer: Anonymous Person from United States  
Hideko Takamine well deserved her reputation as one of the world's finest actresses, and she really carries the film, which is centered around her, and her disappointment with the turns her life is taking. This is one of Mikio Naruse's best films, and his direction is flawless. Of course, Mifune's fine performance, albeit brief, does help the film rise above what might have turned into something bordering vulgarity, instead it is delicately handled with dignity.  His screen presence is strong enough that you feel that he is in the film more than he actually is. Anyone who has ever had unwelcome relatives come and go adding financial burdens can relate to this film.  Japanese filmmakers are masters of portraying family life honestly, respectfully and realistically, without stooping to sentimentality or ridicule. A classic that deserves to be more well known. English subtitles are complete and professionally translated, film quality is excellent.  Highly recommended!

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