‘Sound in the Mist’ Review: A melancholic exploration of love and loss

Released in 1956, Hiroshi Shimizu’s “Sound in the Mist” is a beautifully poetic and melancholic film about love and loss that may be reminiscent of the melodramas of Douglas Sirk who was also releasing many masterpieces in the same decade. Protagonist Kazuhiko (Ken Uehara) visits a mountain cabin annually during the autumn equinox haunted by the memories of his lost love Tsuruko (Michiyo Kogure). Unlike Sirk’s technicolor melodramas, this melodrama’s strengths lie in the beauty of nature. The film focuses on a single location, the mountain cabin, with gorgeous tracking shots of the scenery surrounding it. Kazuhiko’s tragic love can be described as serene, which creates images of beauty amidst sadness. This could be due to the natural setting or the film’s pacing and visuals.

An overall quiet film, even Kazuhiko himself struggles with unspoken and restrained emotions years after the events took place. His yearly visits become a form of silent mourning and a way to keep Tsuruko’s memory alive. Despite his sadness, annual visits suggest a passage of time and a potential for Kazuhiko to heal and grow over the decade. Ken Uehara’s reserved acting to show Kazuhiko’s unwillingness to succumb to his emotions was impeccable and reminded me of Masayuki Mori’s performance in Floating Clouds (1956) directed by Mikio Naruse.

In earlier decades, Shimizu often added humor to his films about serious topics while “Sound in the Mist” showed a departure from his usual style with the melancholic tones and full focus on unspoken emotions. Even in his later career there was a willingness to experiment and explore new themes. Despite the stylistic shift, the audience will find the film to be of high quality, showcasing Shimizu’s continued talent as a director and showcases both his growth as an artist and his ability to deliver a powerful and moving story.


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