Nakinureta haru no onna yo (A Woman Crying in Spring). 1933. Japan. Directed by Hiroshi Shimizu. With Den Obinata, Shigeru Ogura, Yoshiko Okada, Sachiko Murase. 35mm. in Japanese; English subtitles. 96 min.
A migrant barmaid struggling with a child finds herself romantically drawn to a coal miner in a port city in Hokkaido, in northern Japan, where both must contend with money-grubbing employers who exploit them. Hiroshi Shimizu's first talkie—in which the beautiful snowy landscapes, partly shot on location in Hokkaido, provide an emotional and visual depth—is a bleak melodrama quite unlike the more heartwarming tales for which he is best known. So adept was Shimizu in his imaginative use of sound in A Woman Crying in Spring that it compelled fellow Shochiku director Yasujirō Ozu to try his own hand at making a talkie with The Only Son in 1936. 35mm print from the National Film Archive of Japan; courtesy Shochiku.