Undercurrent (Yoru No Kawa)

Undercurrent (Yoru No Kawa)

classified 15 S

Restored & Rediscovered


Please note: This was screened in July 2023

Kōzaburō Yoshimura
Fujiko Yamamoto, Ken Uehara, Keizō Kawasaki, Michiko Ai, Kazuko Ichikawa, Michiko Ono, Shunji Natsume, Yōichi Funaki, Hikaru Hoshi, Kaketsu Yamacha
104 mins, Subtitled, 1956, Japan

Still largely unknown in the West, Kōzaburō Yoshimura’s filmography is well primed for discovery for cinephiles. Many of his films across the 1950s looked at the lives of women in the city of Kyoto and Undercurrent, his first film in colour, is no different.

We follow Kiwa Funaki (Fujiko Yamamoto), an independent kimono designer in Kyoto. Avowedly single, she rejects her father’s pressures for her to marry. But things begin to change when she meets a married scientist. When the man’s wife dies, Funaki's response is not quite as you might expect…

Yoshimura uses this seemingly simple story to capture a Japan in flux in the mid-50s: a Japan caught between the rapidly expanding growth of consumer industries and the traditionalist, formal structures of Japanese society.

A 4k restoration courtesy of Kadokawa Corporation.

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