Forty-five years in the hard life of a Japanese woman are chronicled in this film. Not knowing her parents' identity, Hidari lives with her foster father as his mistress until she is 20, when she goes into the world pregnant and unmarried. She works in a factory, then as a housemaid for the
mistress of an American GI, and finally as a prostitute and madam. Her life comes full circle when she encounters Yoshimura, her grown daughter, who is herself now pregnant. After Yoshimura sleeps with and robs Kawazu, a man her mother once loved, Hidari tracks down her daughter and returns her to
Kawazu. This powerful film touches sensitively on many issues, and features a magnificent performance from Hidari, who convincingly ages 45 years in the space of two hours. The location shooting is effective and gives the film its authentic feel. The wide variety of social concerns addressed is
astounding; the exploitation of women, the westernization of Japan, and the cruelty of human nature are all portrayed and intricately linked in this sad, bitter film. It was highly regarded in Japan, where it won 14 major film awards.
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