- Another masterpiece by an unsung master 5/22/2003 12:00:00 AM by kerpan
"Yama no oto" is, in essence, the story of the love between a daughter-in-law (Setsuko Hara) and the father (So Yamamura) of her neglectful and selfish husband (Ken Uehara). As Yamamura becomes more and more aware of the unhappiness of Hara, he takes ever more unconventional steps to try to rescue his son's marriage (for instance, approaching his son's mistress). Though the issues of infidelity, abortion and divorce swirl through this film, the tone is remarkably low-key and unmelodramatic. The cinematography here is similar to that found in Ozu's films of this period, though not so rigorous. The performances of Hara and Yamamura are superb. A very well-done and moving film by Japan's greatest neglected master.
- Brilliant 7/19/2008 12:00:00 AM by crossbow0106
This film tackles a subject that even today is controversial: Choice. Kikuko (the utterly amazing Setsuko Hara) is locked into a loveless marriage with her husband. They live with his parents, and it is particularly her father in law Shingo (Su Yamamura, who also is excellent) that she is closest to. Kikuko is a veritable maid, but mostly doesn't complain, while her husband is having an affair. You want Kikuko to confront him, but she doesn't. Then (this is where it gets controversial) Kikuko finds out she is pregnant, doesn't tell anyone and gets an abortion! Her reason is that its not the time to have a child, since her relationship is in flux. In the movie "Juno", Ellen Page brings the baby to term. The brilliance of this film is its unflinching subject and how its handled, with dignity, sadness and relief. If this film were released today, especially in the United States, you'd have so many interest groups up in arms about it. That its handled like this, with you deciding what to feel rather than having your feelings be dictated to you, makes this a masterpiece. In every review I've written in which she has been an actress I've praised Setsuko Hara. She is beautiful (especially when she smiles), but its really about the seemingly effortless way she portrays all types of women, strong, weak, resilient, unable to cope etc. She is one of the greatest actresses to have ever graced the screen and her portrayal is phenomenal as the under appreciated wife who makes a choice based on her circumstances. Director Mikio Naruse has always considered this one of his best films, and it is. Even if you're passionate about the "life" issue, see this film. I can't say enough about the acting of Ms. Hara in this film. The film is essential viewing.
- Excellent 12/15/2001 12:00:00 AM by sharptongue
I admit it. I'm a sucker for this type of movie. Old black-and-white film, well-acted and scripted, whether Japanese or American, and I'm lost.
Even better, this one has some top-notch dialogue. The scene where the father confronts the brassy mistress of his son has dialogue worthy of more than one Hollywood greats.
This film is a terrific high-class soap opera which brutally examines fracturing personal relationships in one family in post-war Japan. The previous reviewer implies that this is not among this director's great work. All I can say is, if this is a middling effort, then I for one have much movie-viewing pleasure ahead.
- Forbidden Love 4/15/2014 12:00:00 AM by claudio_carvalho
The businessman Ogata Shingo (S? Yamamura) works with his son Shuichi (Ken Uehara), who is his secretary, and they live together in the suburb with their wives Yasuko (Teruko Nagaoka) and Kikuko (Setsuko Hara) respectively. Shuichi has a love affair and has a loveless marriage with Kikuko. Yasuko has dedicated her entire life to her family but Shingo married her only because her older sister had died. Kikuko is the pride and joy of Shingo and they are close to each other.
Out of the blue, Shingo and Yasuko's daughter Fusako (Chieko Nakakita) leaves her husband and arrives at Shingo's home with her two children. Shingo investigates and finds the address of Shuichi's lover. Meanwhile Kikuko goes to the hospital and Shingo learns that she was pregnant but decided to abort her child.
"Yama no oto" is a movie about forbidden love based on the novel of Yasumari Kawabata and directed by Mikio Naruse that uses the favorite theme of Ozu – the family drama - and similar locations. The story is based on the patriarch Shingo, a man that has married his wife without loving her but also respected her along their lives. He feels a forbidden love with his sister-in-law Kikuko, a woman that is apparently submissive working as a servant at home, but strong enough to abort her child to avoid keeping her loveless marriage with her husband. Fusako is Shingo's estranged daughter that is also strong enough to leave her husband and move with her children to her parents' home. This women behavior is unusual in Japanese movies from these years. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "O Som da Montanha" ("The Sound of the Mountain")
- I'm just missing too much subtext 4/13/2017 12:00:00 AM by cherold
There are some foreign films so steeped in their culture that as an American who knows the world only through movies, I find myself thoroughly puzzles. Sound of the Mountain is one of those movies.
The story is simple enough. A man bonds with his daughter-in-law, and is upset by the way she's treated by his odious son.
But constantly through the movie I felt like I was just missing something. Someone makes a comment and then the woman turns her head in a way to suggest something significant has happened. The man spends time talking about when someone mispronounces a word and I can't figure out why that's interesting.
I can see there is a concept of proper behavior but I can't quite find its outlines. A lot is left unsaid and I'm not sure what is meant.
I just felt kind of lost.
It's not a problem I have with all Japanese movies. I love Kurosawa, after all.
I'm not giving this a star rating because I don't feel qualified to judge this movie. It is well filmed and looks very nice, the acting is quite good, and the final scene is lovely and touching, yet I did not, for the most part, enjoy it, and if I were to give a star rating based on my subjective experience I would give it a 6 at best.