Yuwaku (Temptation). 1948. Japan. Directed by Kôzaburô Yoshimura. Screenplay by Kaneto Shindô. With Setsuko Hara, Shin Saburi, Akira Yamanouchi, Haruko Sugimura. 35mm. In Japanese; English subtitles. 106 min.
Famously beloved for her performance as the loyal, long-suffering daughter in films by Yasujirō Ozu, Akira Kurosawa, and Mikio Naruse (hence her infelicitous nickname, The Eternal Virgin), Setsuko Hara here plays a medical student, grieving the loss of her father, who finds a surrogate father and a love interest in the form of one of his acolytes, a man nearly twice her age who hires her to care for his children and home while his invalid wife convalesces and he furthers his own ambitious career in leftist politics. Kôzaburô Yoshimura and Kaneto Shindô, who would collaborate on some 40 films, flirt equally with the politics of sex, working within the strictures of censorship and contemporary mores to touch upon the themes of temptation and transgression, forbidden love, incest, and the tragic fate of women, themes that they would more overtly address in later dramas like Night River and Bamboo Doll of Echizen. 35mm print from the National Film Archive of Japan; courtesy Shochiku