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A Hen in the Wind
(Kaze no Naka no Mendori)

Screening on Film
Directed by Yasujiro Ozu.
With Kinuyo Tanaka, Shuji Sano, Chishu Ryu.
Japan, 1948, 35mm, black & white, 84 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.

This postwar drama stars Mizoguchi’s favorite actress, Kinuyo Tanaka, as a woman driven to prostitution for survival. Destitute as she awaits her husband’s return from the army, she tries to make a living first as a seamstress and then by selling the few goods she has. But when her son falls ill and she has to pay the hospital bills, a neighbor advises her to start working the street. More complex and ambiguous than many of the other Japanese films made under the American postwar occupation, A Hen in the Wind marks the onset of Ozu’s celebrated late style, which emerges in the film’s strikingly crisp photography and its singular patterns of narration, composition, and editing.

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Yasujiro Ozu.
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