Shirō Toyoda’s The Mistress is based on Mori Ogai’s Romantic novel Wild Geese (and sometimes referred to by the title of the original, as Criterion does). The film is in some ways a familiar melodramatic narrative about the crushing of a woman’s desire under patriarchy — a treatment dismissively summarized in 1959 by Bosley Crowther of The New York Times as “a morally mawkish situation upon a tear-misted screen.”
Part of an ongoing effort to watch a set of films from non-White, non-U.S., non-male, and/or non-straight filmmakers and depart a little from the Western canon. The intro and full list can be found here.
The camera tracks from left to right through a lower middle-class suburb in Japan, establishing the textures, geography, and architecture of the neighborhood before arriving at two older boys tossing a baseball around in a yard.