Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Ani Imoto
Japan, 1953. Daiei Tokyo Daini. Screenplay by Yoko Mizuki, based on the novel by Saisei Muro. Cinematography by Shigeyoshi Mine. Produced by Nobuo Miura. Music by Ichiro Saito. Production Design by Mikio Naka. Costume Design by Terutaka Horiguchi. Film Editing by Toyo Suzuki.
Yoshiko Kuga is excellent as a young woman in a remote village who cannot marry her sweetheart because her elder sister (played by megastar Machiko Kyô) has a bad reputation as a loose woman. Kyo has left home and refuses to give her family her address, which causes her loving sister great stress and worry, while elder brother Masayuki Mori hates his sibling for having brought such shame on their family. When a man shows up and announces himself the father of Kyo’s illegitimate child, it ignites conflicts that draw in all siblings and their exasperated parents. Mikio Naruse’s light touch is all over this sad but kindhearted drama that never shows its hand but is so powerfully affecting; the interactions between characters feel natural and unforced and yet have such a devastating effect by the film’s conclusion.