女の中にいる他人 “The Stranger Within a Woman”


監督:成瀬巳喜男  1966     102分     東宝


誰がサスペンスの主人公であるのか、それをカメラでド正面で捕らえ、わかりやすく「見せる」のは簡単なこと。しかし、何も包み隠さず提出するワイラー的な語りよりも、ニコラス・レイの「In A Lonely Place (孤独な場所で)」のごとく、男の後ろ姿と横顔の暗さを盗み見てゆく、そんなアプローチを成瀬が選んだことがおもしろい。生前エドワード・ヤンがこの作品を見たか否かは知らぬが、彼ならこの画面の漆黒に熱狂するのではないだろうか。

“The Stranger Within a Woman” Mikio Naruse  1966 102 minutes

The film starts with the back of a man walking along a noisy major street in Tokyo.
Then he sits alone in a dark beer hall drinking draft beer. Suddenly a knock is hard on the glass window. We see his best friend thru the glass gesturing, “can I join you?” The man nods and the friend enters the hall ordering a waitress, “same one as his.” Until we hear his voice ordering there are no dialogs, yet Naruse’s mise-en-secne is amazingly smooth and economical in storytelling. His silent-film-based interactions and the rich black tone of B&W photography set up the simple and beautiful trajectory to the dark mystery. It is rather like the dark & mysterious ambiguity of Nicholas Ray than like the straight-forward clarity of William Wyler.
I thought Keiju Kobayashi was amazingly unique in a way that he always receives the gaze of his wife, Michiyo Aratama, on his profile and doesn’t look back at her. The camera beautifully composes their never-crossing gaze in 4:3 standard frame. At the climax when their gaze finally meet and the couple face each other, Aratama makes up her mind to carry out her ultimatum: poisoning her husband. It is quite interesting that the focus of the story shirts then from husband to wife almost unknowingly — this is, I think, because we’ve been always watching the profile of Kobayashi and the straight-forward gaze of Aratama on camera. So we unconsciously synchronies our gaze with Aratama’s looking at her mysterious husband. Am I making sense?


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