With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

ACF 538: The Affair at Japan Society

All images (c) Shochiku Co., Ltd.

The Affair / Joen
Directed by Kiju Yoshida, A.K.A. Yoshishige Yoshida
Japan, 1967, B&W, 101 min.
Showtime: Thursday, April 15th, 2010 at 7:30 PM


As I did with my post on Impasse, I'll offer the blurb from the Japan Society, then my thoughts based on the DVD screener I watched. (Note that the link immediately below for the Japan Society Website also provides for purchasing tickets online if you desire.)

Japan Society Website:

With this radical erotic “anti-melodrama”, Kiju (Yoshishige) Yoshida became not only the cineaste of women but the cineaste of one woman: Mariko Okada, starring here as an unhappily married woman confronting the decadent legacy of her mother, who made no secret of her affairs with younger men. Okada faces this inheritance by initiating sexual relationships herself, forming a strange love triangle between her, a sculptor who had been her mother’s lover, and a rough construction worker to whom she surrenders with the reluctant passion of a Japanese Lady Chatterley.

Events unfold—flashes of warmth, wintry blasts of ire—in a patient procession of details and descend calmly into the uncontrolled. All the while Yoshida’s cautious camera hovers over the quakes of jealousy and tidal surges of desire, filmed like the progress of a haunting.

ACF Review Thoughts:

This pairing of Yoshida and Okada was released later earlier in 1967 than Impasse. Both films feature shots through glass windows and ones employing mirrors. There is also some of the hand-held camera work circling the subject(s), but it is much more judiciously and smartly utilized than in Impasse.

Again like Impasse, The Affair can be characterized as an art house film. And while it too jumps around in time, it is shot more like a conventional, rather than an avant-garde, film. Okada is marvelous as Oriko Furuhata, whose was embarrassed by the love affairs her mother had with various men and who is dissatisfied with her marriage to the president of a securities company. Interspersed throughout the film are various fantasy imaginings of her mother's death as a pedestrian hit by a truck. As Oriko's life begins to mirror her mother's, she is the one struck by the truck.

I was even more impressed by The Affair than I was by Impasse. So The Affair gets a 3.5 out of 4 star ACF Rating; very highly recommended.

Mad, Bad… & Dangerous to Know: Three Untamed Beauties is made
possible through the generous support of The Globus Family.

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