Japan 2021

The Life of Matsu the Untamed (aka The Rickshaw Man)

Muhomatsu no issho

A humble rickshaw man falls for the widow of an army officer in this touching drama.

Image from The Life of Matsu the Untamed (aka The Rickshaw Man)

Japan 1943
Dir Hiroshi Inagaki
With Tsumasaburô Bandô, Ryûnosuke Tsukigata, Keiko Sonoi
79min
Digital
English subtitles

This is a rare example of humanist cinema emerging from Japan in the darkest days of WWII. Scriptwriter Mansaku Itami (father of Tampopo’s Juzo) crafted an elegant screenplay charting the affection of a humble rickshaw man (superbly played by Tsumasaburô Bandô) for the widow of an army officer. The focus on inflexible class distinctions makes this film subtly subversive as well as very touching.