Shinoda just before starting to make “Shinoda films”

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In Shinoda’s 1962 “Watakushi-tachi no kekkon,” (Our Marriage) Kaiko (Baishô Cheiko) is a beautiful 22-year-old office worker who has been seeing (and even once kissed) factory worker Komakura (Mikami Shin’ichrô), who makes 17,000 yen a month. Her younger sister Saeko (Maki Noriko), who works in the same factory office, is determined on this match. Their father (whose seaweed farming business is failing due to pollution) is making noises about marrying her to the son of the union chief, who had been married before, but only for six months before his wife’s death. An unexpected new contender is a former black marketer not seen in about a decade, Matsumoto (Kimura Isao) who commands a salary of 30,000 yen.

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Kaiko is tired of being poor and despite the opposition and meddling of her sister, chooses greater financial security in the movie that runs just over an hour (66 minutes). I like the camera’s exploration of factory and harbor more than the anti-romantic “romance” story, though the actors all are fine in it.

(Although I’m not certain of it, I think the “our” references the younger sister’s emotional involvement in her sister marrying Kumakora, whom she loves, perhaps unconsciously.)

The music (credited to Yamamoto Naozumi [Branded to Kill] ) is entirely wordless (but not always voiceless) renditions of “Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore (Hallelujah).”

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©2016, Stephen O. Murray

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