Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mikio Naruse - Magokoro aka Sincerity (1939)


The Kinema Junpo critics were, of course, mistaken to think that Naruse had abandoned his emphasis on women. His next film, Sincerity, features two strong female characters, played by Irie Takako and Murase Sachiko, each of whom have a daughter. The girls are schoolmates, but one (Nobuko) is from a middle-class home and the other (Tomiko) is from a poor family. Tomiko's mother Tsutako (Irie) is a single mother who works from home as a seamstress, while Nobuko's mother lives in an elegant home with her husband, Kei. Eventually, it is revealed that Kei had a romantic relationship with Tsutako, and may be Tomiko's father as well, but he is conscripted shortly after this revelation and goes off to war.

This is very much a home front film, in which the women are involved in supporting activities, and the whole town cheers on the new recruits. As Kei is a banker, he is conscripted as an officer. He is introduced brandishing a magnificent sword, indicating his readiness for his call-up, for which everyone congratulates him when it comes. The wartime context is little more than a backdrop to the story of paternity and former love. The complex emotions among the women are conveyed through cutting on eye movements and eye lines, and through the use of the pastoral location.

Part I:
Part II:


no pass