In 1940 Tokyo, Shigeru Nogami (Mitsugoro) is arrested for his leftist writings and held in prison without a trial. His wife Kayo (Yoshinaga) keeps the family together by working as a school teacher to support their two young daughters (Sato, Shida). With the help of Shigeru’s former student Yamazaki (Asano), they get by, hoping for Shigeru’s release. But then World War Two breaks out, and life becomes even harder for the Nogamis.
In this example of “hahamono” cinema, a subgenre of melodrama that focuses on maternal suffering and love, Kayo’s sacrifices become an allegory for Japan’s war trauma. Yoshinaga embodies the ideal mother, and the film is filled with warm intimacy within the family home. But outside, Yamada’s critique of military brio and rampant nationalism is pointed. Don’t miss this quietly powerful adaptation of a memoir by Kurosawa collaborator Teruyo Nogami.