Apart From You feels like any other Mikio Naruse film, asides from the fact that the dramatic camerawork appears to be compensating for the lack of sound. In a peculiar way, the film is stronger for its silence, as we are able to observe the characters’ frustrations purely in their expressions and actions. With just three key characters, Naruse is able to spend time fleshing them out, with Toshio a particularly strong identity in the film. A simple story with a cherishable message at its core, Apart From You is a pleasant drama which stands up to the early silent films of Yasujiro Ozu.
Monday, 26 April 2010
Kikue is a geisha who is constantly fraught with worry. Her son Yoshio has fallen in with the wrong crowd at school and is often inclined to bunk off, to the chagrin of his mother. The two have frequent arguments in which both parties question the love of the other. Additionally, a client who had once been obsessed with her appears to be losing interest as he discovers the younger geishas in the house. Kikue’s younger friend and colleague, a more popular geisha named Terugiku, notices the family spat and intervenes by inviting Toshio to join her on a trip to visit her family. Initially grateful for the break, Toshio soon realises Terugiku’s ulterior motive, as her father proves to be an unpleasant man wholly undeserving of his social stature. Toshio determines to learn from the visit, but his attempts to reform himself aren’t without difficulty.