The Ditch | Chicago Reader

The Ditch

Japanese actress Nobuko Otowa appeared in numerous films written and directed by her husband, Kaneto Shindo, and this 1954 drama offers one of her wilder performances, as a mugging, simpleminded prostitute in a town so destitute that women scramble to collect coal as it falls off passing freight trains. A working man heading for the local foundry finds her lying in a ditch in a polka-dot kimono moaning for food, and tosses her some bread; eventually she insinuates herself into his little community, hovering around the main action as the foundry workers go on strike and a real estate speculator connives to get their homes so he can build a racetrack. There's a pantomimic quality to much of the action, and Otawa plays the addled prostitute with a kabuki broadness that helps Kaneto put across the high melodrama of her sorry end. In Japanese with subtitles.



  • Bing Wang


  • Zhengwu Cheng
  • Niansong Jing
  • Xiangnian Li
  • Renjun Lian
  • Ye Lu
  • Cenzi Xu
  • Haoyu Yang


  • Philippe Avril
  • Lihong K.
  • Bing Wang
  • Hui Mao

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