Sound of the Mountain



IMDb Rating 8 10 1307


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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by kerpan 10 / 10

Another masterpiece by an unsung master

"Yama no oto" is, in essence, the story of the love between a daughter-in-law (Setsuko Hara) and the father (So Yamamura) of her neglectful and selfish husband (Ken Uehara). As Yamamura becomes more and more aware of the unhappiness of Hara, he takes ever more unconventional steps to try to rescue his son's marriage (for instance, approaching his son's mistress). Though the issues of infidelity, abortion and divorce swirl through this film, the tone is remarkably low-key and unmelodramatic. The cinematography here is similar to that found in Ozu's films of this period, though not so rigorous. The performances of Hara and Yamamura are superb. A very well-done and moving film by Japan's greatest neglected master.

Reviewed by GyatsoLa 9 / 10


The amazing thing about Japanese movies of this period is that a film maker of Naruse's quality can be considered 'minor' in the sense of being outside the 'big three'. This wonderful movie shows why this is so unfair. Not that Ozu or Kurosawa, who were big fans of Naruse would agree. He was a masterful director, capable of beautifully composed scenes with flowing, skillful editing.

The story is straightforward - A older man and his daughter in law forge a bond as he tries in futile manner to make up for his sons neglect of his wife.

This movie is easy to dismiss as superior soap opera, but is really much more than this. Its an astonishingly rich, detailed dissection of a family under strain. Setsuko Hara is superb at playing a charming, loving wife who suppresses her deep resentment at her mistreatment by her husband. She and her father in law have a bond - but it is increasingly apparent that neither are totally innocent - there is an element of passive aggressiveness in both the lead characters that gradually leads to greater sympathy to the bad boy husband and the other superficially less sympathetic characters. One of the joys of this movie is how even the minor characters are so complex and well rendered - the sparky grandmother, the outspoken, resentful daughter, the secretary used as a go-between.

In so many ways - the production values, the acting, the thematic richness, this movie is head and shoulders over other produced anywhere in the world at this time. Naruse's movies were emotionally so much more complex and layered than almost anything made at the time. It may be a family drama made over 50 years ago but its still fascinating and entertaining and moving.

Reviewed by crossbow0106 10 / 10


This film tackles a subject that even today is controversial: Choice. Kikuko (the utterly amazing Setsuko Hara) is locked into a loveless marriage with her husband. They live with his parents, and it is particularly her father in law Shingo (Su Yamamura, who also is excellent) that she is closest to. Kikuko is a veritable maid, but mostly doesn't complain, while her husband is having an affair. You want Kikuko to confront him, but she doesn't. Then (this is where it gets controversial) Kikuko finds out she is pregnant, doesn't tell anyone and gets an abortion! Her reason is that its not the time to have a child, since her relationship is in flux. In the movie "Juno", Ellen Page brings the baby to term. The brilliance of this film is its unflinching subject and how its handled, with dignity, sadness and relief. If this film were released today, especially in the United States, you'd have so many interest groups up in arms about it. That its handled like this, with you deciding what to feel rather than having your feelings be dictated to you, makes this a masterpiece. In every review I've written in which she has been an actress I've praised Setsuko Hara. She is beautiful (especially when she smiles), but its really about the seemingly effortless way she portrays all types of women, strong, weak, resilient, unable to cope etc. She is one of the greatest actresses to have ever graced the screen and her portrayal is phenomenal as the under appreciated wife who makes a choice based on her circumstances. Director Mikio Naruse has always considered this one of his best films, and it is. Even if you're passionate about the "life" issue, see this film. I can't say enough about the acting of Ms. Hara in this film. The film is essential viewing.

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