Film Review: Scattered Clouds (1967) by Mikio Naruse

Mikio Naruse solidified himself as a single of Japan&amprsquors most admirable filmmakers. His operate is identified for the pessimistic however raw outlook on life, displaying that the globe is not a best spot although focusing on human vulnerability. A lot like Kenji Mizoguchi, he often gave girls a voice in his operate, notably operating with beloved actress Hideko Takamine all through his profession. In addition, Naruse would in some cases develop premises for narratives that sound surreal on paper however would be executed wonderfully on film. Appear no additional than his final masterpiece, &#8220Scattered Clouds,&#8221 also identified as &#8220Two in the Shadow.&#8221

Released in 1967, this would be Mikio Naruse&amprsquors final film, as he would later pass away in 1969 from cancer. His wellness was currently declining when he created this film, however that didn&amprsquort retain him down when directing this tragic like story. Fittingly writing the screenplay is Nobuo Yamada, who is no stranger to poignant storytelling. &#8220Scattered Clouds&#8221 is a single of Naruse&amprsquors most well-liked functions and is hailed as a higher point in Japanese cinema.

A vibrant future is set for a lady named Yumiko, who is quickly due with a infant and preparing to depart to the United States with her caring husband Hiroshi, an employee of the Ministry of Economy. Regrettably, tragedy strikes when her spouse is killed in a car or truck accident. The car or truck&amprsquors driver, Shiro Mishima, shows immense regret and desires to aid make amends by paying the widow month-to-month installments. Overcome with grief, she turns him down, drowned in comprehensive heartbreak more than the death of her considerable other. Items only worsen for the lead when she has a miscarriage and is disowned by her late spouse&amprsquors family members. With no a single to turn to, she sooner or later accepts Shiro&amprsquors funds, moves back with family members close to Lake Towada, and finds operate. There is, on the other hand, stress for her to remarry. As the two leads heal with time and succeed in their professions, they coincidentally cross paths with every other once again. At some point, a surprising friendship types involving them, eventually major to them falling in like. But, the discomfort of the previous catches up.

It is fairly bittersweet that Mikio Naruse&amprsquors final function is amongst a single of the bleakest functions of his filmography. The story is gorgeous and heartbreaking. Like several of his other functions, Naruse weaves a poignant and haunting tale that by no means feels heavy-handed. He creates a touching romantic tragedy with a single of cinema&amprsquors rawest depictions of grief and sorrow. The narrative requires time to create the two leads as they attempt to heal from the harrowing events at the film&amprsquors get started, even providing them their personal screen time prior to they sooner or later cross paths with every other once again. Additionally, their humanity is shown by the bond that eventually types involving them, tremendously enhanced by their surprisingly fantastic chemistry. The fantastic screenplay keeps points grounded, as the previous tragedy shadows their connection, and it can not be changed, major to additional sadness. Not even the beautiful environments surrounding them can mask the harsh realities, major to them sooner or later possessing to face them. Like the film&amprsquors characters, the audience will have to also come to terms with this.

The performances are outstanding, with the two leads getting exceptional. Yoko Tsukasa is terrific as Yumiko. It is uncomplicated for the audience to really feel the heartbreak and tragedy she is forced to endure. But, there is also likability to her character, and it is relatable to see her attempt and gradually heal with time. Her type and sweet nature only make her sorrow ten instances sadder. Yuzo Kayama plays her unsuspected pal/lover Shiro Mishima and is also superb. The story acknowledges and emphasizes the weight of his error however doesn&amprsquort villainize him for the reason that, at his core, Shiro is shown to be a type human getting and is similarly shown in a state of vulnerability. When at 1st surreal, this pair&amprsquors unexpected chemistry is excellent, adding to the heartbreaking drama that unfolds in the final act. Every person else in the film also performs properly, with numerous recognizable talents present, like Mitsuko Mori, Mitsuko Kusabue, and Mie Hama. Also, well-liked actor Yoshio Tsuchiya notably plays Yumiko&amprsquors late husband, Hiroshi.

All through his profession, Mikio Naruse mostly presented his films in black-and-white, only directing a handful of colour functions. But, anytime he utilized colour in his operate, he did not disappoint, and &#8220Scattered Clouds&#8221 is no exception. Yuzuru Aizawa&amprsquors cinematography, from starting to finish, is outstanding. A further aspect of the film worth highlighting is the gorgeous music score composed by Toru Takemitsu. It balances getting each sophisticated and haunting.

&#8220Scattered Clouds&#8221 is a brilliant film and a excellent swan song from director Mikio Naruse. The film requires an uncommon premise for a romance story and executes it completely. The fantastic chemistry involving the two leads additional enhances the drama of this effective piece of cinema. In the hands of a lesser filmmaker, this narrative could have turned out contrived and forced. Rather, Naruse does not disappoint and delivers a haunting tale of like and sorrow.



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