27 April 2008 | crossbow0106
Obstensibly it is a story about Hun, played by Setsuko Hara, who falls in love with a spy, in a time of great turmoil and protests to combat fascism. What makes it a 10 star film is that as it goes along it becomes much more absorbing, with the characters becoming deeper in their beliefs. Here it is: Setsuko Hara does an amazing job playing the young girl. This is her first great role and I was astounded by the depth of her performance. She plays sweet, young, very pretty, but over the course of the film, which spans approximately 11 years, she falls not on hard times, but wields a meditation on personal sacrifice. Having only seen her up to now in Ozu films, I thought she was one of the greatest. Now, I know she was. She plays this character with everything. She even credibly ages over the film. You have to give Mr. Kurosawa credit also, of course, but Ms. Hara's performance makes this an incredible film, which only gets better as it goes along. This film is now part of a box set, and very highly recommended. Any complaints, which I'll mention but are very minor, are sometimes the subtitles are wrong and the film is at times blurry when there is movement (I have this film on an earlier box set, maybe these problems have been rectified). Just know that this is an incredibly absorbing film starring the excellent Setsuko Hara and directed by the great Akira Kurosawa. That alone makes this worth the price of admission, and it delivers wonderfully.