Saturday, September 10, 2011

Every-Night Dreams

Not Wistful — A Recurring Consternation

Yogoto no yume [Every-Night Dreams] by Mikio Naruse, 1933:

The home is a home-base for the narrative, the recurring center both within this film and from one entry to the next in Naruse's filmography.

Every young filmmaker should put internal vision on hold for one outing and try to make a film in the style of Naruse.

There's a cozy, lovely ambiance to the dwelling of Omitsu (a woman who entertains docked sailors, she's played by Sumiko Kurishima), the room she shares with the couple that babysits her son Fumio (Teruko Kojima) — wood-paneled and papered walls... Mizuhara (Tatsuo Saitô, the stork in Ozu films and others at Shochiku) returns one day to his family so that he might see his son. He convinces Omitsu to reconcile. He takes his boy out to play (in the Shochiku-'backlot'-barrows), during this period of unemployment.

Fumio, out playing one day, gets hit by a car (cf. Flunky, Work Hard, where a train delivered the blow). Following the accident, Mizuhara commits a robbery, ostensibly to send the boy to a good hospital (still unemployed, he tells Omitsu he's borrowing money from old friends), — an alarm is triggered, and a frenzied pursuit occurs through the night streets of the town: canted angles; the effect of limitless motorcycle cops emerging from around building corners...

There's lots of play with mirrors in interior moments: they exist for the characters to confront themselves, to 'reflect' — before evading themselves once again...

We learn that, the morning after Mizuhara hands Omitsu the stolen money and departs, he has drowned himself: a powerful cut to an upside-down shot of water. Omitsu is disgusted by an act she sees as the pinnacle of his cowardice. "Where's Daddy?" — successive tracks-into.

The film ends on a montage of life around the port. In the beginning of Every-Night Dreams, Omitsu comes back from 'away' — Mizuhara comes back from 'away'. Away: the America of No Blood Relation, the countryside village of Apart from You... Mikio Naruse had a way with away...


Previous pieces on Naruse at Cinemasparagus:

Flunky, Work Hard [1931]

No Blood Relation [1932]

Apart from You [1933]


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