Watching: The Japanese Wife (2010)

The Japanese WifeWhat a pleasure to watch this unusual film! Aparna Sen has a winner in this beautiful and strange little tale of love and commitment, of life and relationships.

Snehomoy is a young lad who lives in a remote little village in West Bengal. He makes a penfriend in Japan, a young girl called Miyage. He is shy and introverted, perhaps not very socially adept. His relationship with this young woman soon becomes a very important part of his life. Miyage is also a shy girl who too finds it difficult to make real-life friends. Their interaction is very personal but yet by its very nature  it is not intimate; is that why these two shy people are drawn to  it?

Neither of them is rich; he is a school teacher and she keeps a small shop in her home. After a few years, they decide to marry without ever meeting. It is a strangely poignant relationship; they care deeply and are committed to each other. Years pass. She is tied to her sick mother and he does not have the finances to travel so they never meet.

This strange balance is upset when a young widow comes to live in Snehomoy’s home with her 8 year old son. She arrives bereft and lonely, in need of love and support.  Snehomoy is drawn into a real-life interaction with a young woman who blossoms in this strange household of a man, his aunt and a remote Japanese wife. At this time Miyage falls seriously ill. How will all this play out?

This sensitive film is beautifully directed by Aparna Sen. Anay Goswami impresses with his cinematography; he uses his camera as a brush to paint haunting scenes and makes the ordinary look extraordinary.  The actors are all superb. Rahul Bose, Raima Sen and Chigusa Takaku play the leads with expert ease. Moushumi Chatterjee’s face is still mobile and she emotes effortlessly. Even small parts are played with conviction; it is a treat to watch!

I confess, I have not one word to say about the music of the film. The background music is soothing and provides a lovely backdrop to the film. I didn’t pay much attention because I was totally concentrated on the story.

This is a film which works beautifully in spite of the improbable story. Highly recommended.

8 Comments

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8 responses to “Watching: The Japanese Wife (2010)

  1. It does indeed seem very pleasant! I’ll make a note and try to get it for my next batch of movies!

    • I have a feeling you’ll like it very much and what’s more, you’ll have a lot more perceptive things to say about it than I have🙂 Do get it, its a treat for the eyes if nothing else!
      Cheers, Suja

  2. Sounds good! I must watch it; hope I can find a DVD offline here!

  3. Rumi

    I too loved the movie Suja-di – the gentle pace and the superbly shot locales.

    • That reminds me that I didn’t mention the pace – I saw some reviews which complained of it being slow, but I found it very soothing! And the locales were fantastic, were’nt they? !! A really pleasing movie..

  4. Filmbuff

    I wish i could find this movie with sub titles. There are quite a few bengali grocery stores here in Syd selling bengali movies. The owner always says that there are no sub titles for any of the movies sold.

    I will make a note of this. Thanks for your review

    • Its available without subtitles in youtube. I bought the original through a online store in india for a princly sum of 300 Rs. They delivered it to an Indian address of a friend who sent it out to me. That is your best bet.

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