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The Asian ApertureOne Wonderful Sunday
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, July 3, 2012    Share

A young couple is trying to make the best of it, during Japan’s Occupation, as they go out together on a date on Sunday. Akira Kurosawa shows the young couple in the morning as they meet at the train station. Combined, they only have 35-yen between them. They attempt to have a good time anyway. Tokyo is in ruins and is slowly recovering from World War II.

Yuzo, the young man, and his fiancée, Masako, struggle to find something they can do on their date. Yuzo is in despair and cynical as he complains about his circumstances. Masako is extremely optimistic about the future and counters Yuzo’s gloom with her sunny disposition that creates an interesting contrast.

The young couple visit a house for sell that is well out of their financial means. To them it is a dream home with everything they need. They meet another couple who are critical of the construction and advised them to avoid a local slum apartment. Masako, despite their warnings, asks for the address to the apartment. Together they go seek it out. Inside, the meet an attendant who advises them to look for another apartment, while the landlord listens in and occasionally opens the door to scowl at his attendant. The attendant quickly switches between condemning the apartment to praising it.

There are some activities to do on a date they require no investment and this is shown when Yuzo spots young boys playing baseball in the streets and gladly joins in. He whacks the ball straight into the hanging banner of a local sweet bun dealer. Angrily the dealer runs out to scold the children. Yuzo walks up to him and offers to pay the damages. He is given the ruined buns and takes a couple more. Now, everyone has something to eat.

As Sunday progresses from morning to noon, Yuzo’s is increasing depressed as Masako does her best to lift him out of it.
They want to go see a concert but the cheap seats are bought out. When Yuzo’s tries to buy cheap seats from a scalper the inflated price is too high. He gets into an argument with the scalper that turns into a brawl. Now he is still low on cash and beaten down. He just wants to return to his shabby apartment.

Inside the apartment he makes advances on Masako who flees the apartment. The one ray of hope that has been constantly building him up all Sunday is now gone. Depressed, he lies down and listens to music that is distorted because it is being blasted out of a loudspeaker.

Masako returns and stands in the corner crying. After some time, Yuzo is able to calm her down and they go out for coffee. The coffee is too expensive so Yuzo’s is forced to leave behind his coat and has to promise to pay the difference by tomorrow.

As the evening approaches, the couple play inside ruins and pretend to run a coffee shop. Their funny antics are in sharp contrast to Yuzo’s character who has been realistic and cynical for most of the movie.

He wants to treat Masako to the concert she wanted to go to so they walk over to an empty auditorium and here the playing around continues as Yuzo’s pretends to be a conductor. When Masako joins him onstage and speaks directly to the audience, instructing anyone to clap to lift his spirits, the whole movie collapses. The play acting has gone on too long and allowing Masako to break the Fourth wall totally destroys the realism that has been building up since the beginning. There is no reason to keep watching. The final scene recalls the beginning of the movie as Yuzo watches Masako board a train and leave. They agree to meet next Sunday for another date.

Kurosawa really lets his audience down with the last half of One Wonderful Sunday. The first half was a great look on how awful it was to live through the Occupation and to insert fantastic optimism at the end in such an unrealistic resolution doesn’t work at all. Again, this is minor for Kurosawa who went on to direct better films.

2 Stars out of 5. Average for Kurosawa.

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2012 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2012 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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