Wife | Chicago Reader

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Japanese director Mikio Naruse drew on the fiction of Fumiko Hayashi for some of his best features (Late Chrysanthemums, Floating Clouds), and this 1953 drama about a bad marriage begins promisingly with separate disgruntled voice-overs from the wife and husband. But the script, adapted by Toshiro Ide from Hayashi's novel, fails to dig as deeply into the material as Naruse's best. (The semiliterate subtitles, with their unsure grasp of English idiom, don't help.) But this comes from one of Naruse's richest periods, and the quirky performances by many cast members keep this interesting. In Japanese with subtitles. 89 min.

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