Seisaku's Wife

Seisaku no tsuma

dir. Yasuzo Masumura

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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An outcast peasant woman (an astonishing Ayako Wakao) at the turn of the century falls into a passionate love affair with the town's prodigal son in Yasuzo Masumura's powerful portrait of erotic obsession.

One of the great Japanese films of the sixties, Seisaku's Wife prefigures Nagisa Oshima's scandalous In the Realm of the Senses in its powerful portrait of erotic obsession in the midst of rising militarism. An astonishing Ayako Wakao — who won the Kinema Jumpo best actress prize (the Japanese Academy Award®) for her performance — plays an outcast peasant woman at the turn of the century, scorned by her fellow villagers after she has been sold to an older man by her desperate parents. When Seisaku (Takahiro Tamura), the local "model youth," returns from the army and falls in love with her, their amour fou escalates until she can no longer bear the thought of being apart from him, and ensures that he cannot return to the battlefield. The intensity of Wakao's passion is amplified by Masumura's cool, exquisite use of black-and-white Scope, reaching a pitch of shocking power in the final sequences.

Seisaku's Wife screens free as part of Bell Free Weekend.