Director: Mikio Naruse
Year Released: 1933
Omitsu (Sumiko Kurishima), who works as a "waitress" while taking care of her small son, gets an unexpected visit from the boy's estranged father, Mizuhara (Tatsuo Saitō), who wants to be a part of their lives again, but can't seem to get gainful employment ... and then the kid gets hit by a car and they can't pay the medical bills. This early silent feature from Naruse (who gets carried away with the dolly shots) shows an incredible amount of compassion for the situation of the "family": Mizuhara is sickly and the world seems tilted against him, and when he's forced to commit robbery for money, he gets shot (and later commits suicide). It's downbeat, but I like the conclusion, where Brave Mom tells her son he has to be strong: killing yourself is a weak move, suffering with dignity is the way to go. Since the copy I found of this was without sound, I paired my screening with Hiroshi Yoshimura's 1987 album Flora, which is about the same length and just pure ambient goodness.