The precision and formality of classic Japanese cinema may not lend itself well to screwball comedy, but here's an offbeat farce that enjoys the best of both worlds. The style is more polite than its American role models, but the mild-mannered theatrics and calculated social satire are certainly enjoyable, and even quite touching at times. The story follows a rich, comfortable household thrown into escalating turmoil after a shabby vendor of sweet potatoes suffers a stroke in their drawing room. His presence alone isn't much of a catalyst (although it does spark plenty of interest and attention from the victim's greedy and envious tenement neighbors), but serves instead to counterpoint the absurd behavior of everyone around him. A large cast of sympathetic and eccentric characters bustles constantly in and out of each (oddly lit) scene, but despite all the frenzied activity and sharp dialogue the film presents a rather quaint moral: too much money spoils true love.
A homeless man falls ill near a wealthy family's home, who take him in and find themselves dealing with his visiting friends.
November 27, 2020