Sono yo no tsuma (That Night's Wife), Ozu Yasujirô's 1930 film, embodied the contradictory discourses of technological modernity in Japan in 1930. The content of the film makes critical comments on the politics and economy of modernizing Japan as a cause of social distress. At the same time, stylistically, the film celebrates, or at least fully appreciates, the arrival of technological modernity by 1930, which enables the spectacles of lights in the form of a new visual medium for a mass-consumer society. Moreover, the motif of hands, which is enhanced by hard lighting throughout the film, positions Sono yo no tsuma at an intersection of technologies of criminal investigation and the modern anxiety and subjectivity of the period. Focusing on the use of lighting, in particular, I argue that the materiality of Sono yo no tsuma deviates from the simple dichotomy of East/West or the geopolitical hierarchy and structural hegemony of center/periphery and places itself in the sensory network of global film culture of the historical point of 1930.
Daisuke Miyao; Bright Lights, Big City: Lighting, Technological Modernity, and Ozu Yasujirô's Sono Yo No Tsuma (That Night's Wife, 1930). positions 1 February 2014; 22 (1): 161–201. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-2383885
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