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That Night's Wife
(Sono Yo no Tsuma)

Live Musical Accompaniment
Screening on Film
Directed by Yasujiro Ozo.
With Mitsuko Ichimura, Tokihiko Okada, Tatsuo Saito.
Japan, 1930, 35mm, black & white, silent, 65 min.

The title suggests a sex comedy, but That Night’s Wife is a tense suspense thriller based on a popular Japanese short story of the time called “From Nine to Nine.” A penniless commercial artist robs an office to pay for medicine for his critically ill daughter. A police detective pursues him to his home and is held captive by the artist’s gun-wielding wife, who spends the night watching over her husband and child. The dark, tense atmosphere has been compared to early Lang and von Sternberg, while Ozu’s use of the couple’s claustrophobic flat as a single set evokes the stylistic bravura of early Dreyer films. But That Night’s Wife remains an Ozu film, with the melodrama firmly rooted in social and domestic malaise.
 

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Yasujiro Ozu.
A Centennial Celebration

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