A Flower Aflame (2016) - full transcript

When Sonoko enters a traditional Japanese arranged marriage with Amamiya facilitated by her parents the resulting union is loveless including the functional and goal-oriented sex. When the ...

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I won't ask...

...for anything more.

No matter how difficult it is,
I won't do anything.

I have to...keep you pure.

I mustn't taint you.

You're still a virgin.


He never used to be like that.

We live in terrible times.

You said you knew me, didn't you?

Yes, then he suddenly became very polite.

What a fool!

You've been so good to us...

Don't be silly. You should come more often.

I'm delighted. There's little to do
in the countryside.

Please take me to the theater.

Anywhere you like. We'll be family soon.

By the way, we came today
to tell you something.

It's your turn to speak up.

I've changed majors to engineering.

Mr. Furukawa recommended it,
so he was able to change in time.

We're in your debt.

But Mr. Amamiya, didn't you want
to become a literary man?

It's alright, Sonoko.
All literary men are paupers.

I don't want to you to be poor too.

You did it for me?

Of course. I'd do anything for you.

You're lying. You didn't do it for me.

I know you did it to avoid the draft.

My father told you science students
aren't sent to the front.

Sonoko! How can you say that? Apologize.


I apologize.



How can you do that now?

Father was crying.

Sister, don't you know?

We've lost the war.

I know. That's why I'm thinking.

Up until now, we've pledged
our lives to our nation.

So from now on,

what are we supposed to live for?

Moreover, if we become
part of the United States,

will we still be asked to pledge our lives?

Sir? Sir?





Sonoko, show your father
how you look as a bride.

This home...

What is it?


Please give me...

...an heir.

An heir? All in good time.
Don't worry yourself. Alright?

Yes. She shall produce two sons.

One will be an Amamiya,
and the other will become your heir.

Father-in-law. Rest assured.

From now on, I will support this family.

"Kiyohiko Amamiya"

Sonoko, I swear.

I'll make you happy.

Shall we turn in?

Come now, don't be shy.

I've waited for this.

I'm a virgin.

I saved myself for you.

It's true.

I warded off temptation by picturing your face.

Please, don't...

Good morning.

Say, Sonoko.

Do couples as virtuous as us exist anymore?

The world should know
how beautiful last night was.



The doctor said it's alright.


I'll be gentle.


He takes after Amamiya, doesn't he?

You've changed so much.

But I wonder...

How long can you keep up this act?

Don't be rude. It's not an act.

But I know.

What do you know?

My sister's true nature.

You say such silly things.

Do 1? I've studied
and analyzed you for so long,

I know you better than you know yourself.

You may be in university now,
but don't talk like you know it all.


You pretend to be a happy wife,

but you're not satisfied.

I've heard enough of your poor assumptions.

So I was right.

I knew it. There's no love here.


You don't love him. Amamiya.

So why did you marry him?

Why did you let your parents
decide who you married?

You were against it at first.


You believe marriage to be
something romanesque, don't you?

You used to say so often.

Like it's all rococo fireplaces
and roses in vases.

You even thought up baby names.

What are you saying?

To me, marriage is a practical arrangement.

Unlike you, I don't swoon over
honeymoons and newlywed life.

Just look at how my mothers are.

In marriage, one partner
has to give up or sacrifice.

The blissful couples you see
in the movies are simply demented.

Our love has grown deeper.


Is his transfer to Kyoto a promotion?

His company rates him highly.

Is that so?

It was mentioned when you came over last.

It was?

Unbelievable. You don't care
about your husband's career?

Poor Amamiya. He works hard for his family,

but his wife's uninterested.

It seems that you're
more interested in him than I am.

Keep playing with this.

You read them?

No, I just found them.

Then read them now.

No thank you.

Read them. I know you want to.


What should I do?

I'm really not interested.

"My sister cut her hair."

"My sister became ill, and slept for two days."

Come on. Read them.

They're all about you.

Amamiya sent letters everyday,

but you never replied,

so I sent letters back reporting on you.

Yoko, you...

You poor girl.

I'm sorry. Did we startle you? It's alright.

Let's go to Grandma's.

When you two settle down,
I'll send Makoto back.

"Maruta Town, Kawaramachi, Kyoto"

We're being watched.

Were you...lying in wait for me?

You're Sonoko, aren't you?

How do you know me?

I'm Ochi. From Hayami Electric.

Oh, the branch manager?

I knew it was you right away.

You forgot to call? That's why you went out.


You couldn't find the tobacconist?


I told you she's absent-minded.

Mrs. Kitabayashi will lend you her phone.

Mrs. Kitabayashi?

The landlord.

Oh my. In the alley?
Wasn't she just a normal girl?

Lately, even normal girls are turning tricks.

It's deplorable.

No, what I saw wasn't like that.

Then what was it like?

What they call "free love."

Free love?

We lost the war,
and gained true freedom at last.

We should be free to love.


It's a new age.

Oh my. You say that like it's new,

but it's only a matter
of doing it openly, or not.

Perhaps none of you are aware,

but in the old days, there was a
rural custom called "night creeping.”

Love doesn't get freer than that.

Well, I wouldn't say so.

Night creeping was done to aid
wives with sterile husbands.

It was part of the feudal system.

You're always too knowing.

It was only ever about
swollen passions and pudenda.

That guy Ochi. I heard he was a little odd.

Heard what?

He could've been promoted,

but he refused to leave Kyoto, no matter what.

He must be a local.

Actually, he isn't.

He went to university here,
but he's a Tokyo native.

His family...His wife must be here.

If so, he wouldn't be a lodger.

A lodger? You mean at Mrs. Kitabayashi's place?

What's that look?

You appear to be in fine health.

As if you've been reborn.

It's your imagination.

I'm sorry. Not tonight.

I don't want to.

Why not?

I'm not in the mood.

Alright. I don't want to
trample on your feelings.

I'll be late tonight, so don't wait up.

Bye now.

How is he? What did the doctor say?

Oh. I see.

Yes. Please do.

Thank you.

When will your son come?

Well, it seems he's come down with the mumps.

That's a good thing.

For him to catch the mumps
while he's still young.

Do you have a child too?

Two sons.

Although now, it's like I never had them.

It's all my own doing.

Something wrong?


You...don't speak in Kyoto dialect.

I was born in Tokyo. Marriage brought me here.

I've lived here for so long,

but I still don't feel at home.

And your husband?

When did he pass away?

A long time ago. 20 years must have gone by.

I could go back to Tokyo,

but I've been dragging my feet...

Say. Know how to play mahjong?

I do. A little.

Then let's have a game!
Mr. Amamiya will be late, won't he?

He will. But why?

Mr. Ochi.

He asked Mr. Amamiya to wine and dine
clients he usually handles.

He likes mahjong too. You don't mind, do you?

It's your turn next.

That reminds me. Our neighbors, the Shodas.

Aren't they noisy?

Our neighbors?

That accordion music!

Their son got into art college,
but he's an idler.

Art college for the accordion?

He failed the music college exam,
so he entered art college.

At any rate, he doesn't have
a smidgen of talent, that boy.

That's "ron."

Oh no! Oh no...

Mr. Shoda, I presume?

I'm Amamiya. Sonoko Amamiya.

Mrs. Kitabayashi's lodger.

Go on, play.

Doesn't it bother you?

The whole neighborhood despises me.

Oh? I like it.

May I...draw you sometime?

Men are kind to you, aren't they?

I bet they see you as helpless,

and obsess over you.

Mr. Ochi.

Don't you obsess over her too?

Sonoko, it's late, Say good night.

Amamiya, come in.

Come on, Sonoko!

He seems agitated tonight. You'd better go.

Good night.

What's got into you?

Don't go there again.

Why say that all of a sudden?

You went there too.

I found out today. We're the
only ones who didn't know.

So what?

That hag Kitabayashi's been
screwing Ochi since he was a student.

He's 20 years younger.

She's sabotaged his chances
of marriage. It's abnormal.

Listen to me. Avoid that
den of squalor. It'll pollute you.

Ochi's equally to blame. He's nearly 40.


Are you alright?

If you're that shocked, you still too naive.

Listen to me.

From now on, avoid those two.

Makoto's doing a lot better.

But we should wait till next week.
It's far for a child.


When I called, Yoko answered.

Your mother's worried, so she'll come too.

Sonoko? Are you listening?


What's wrong with you?
You're like an empty shell.

Do I look that way?

What is it?


What? What is it?

Mr. Ochi...

I've fallen for him.

I think...I love him.

What about Ochi? How does he feel?

I don't know.

You don't know?

I don't. I haven't told him.

Ochi has several fans
among the staff at work too.

What's so great about him?

Is he a so-called "lady killer"?

Sonoko. You're simply mistaken.

Makoto's not here, and I'm busy
with work. You're lonely, and bored.

That's why you delude yourself.


Because of Ochi?

I'm sorry.


Do you love him?

I'm sick of this!

What on earth's wrong with you?

Wait, are you pregnant again?

Makoto. Come here.

Been a good boy?

You went to hospital?

Never mind.

Yoko, fold the futons.

How about some carrot?

It's tasty. Have some. Go on.

Let me try.

Makoto dear! Open wide.


Yummy? Yes? Good.

Makoto dear, come here.


At least you understand how I feel, don't you?

I'm in agony.

I've never felt this way.


You understand, don't you?

What's going on?

It's nothing.

This is nothing?

She's having a nervous breakdown.

Sonoko. Sonoko?

I'll be fine from here.

Please...Try to be strong, won't you?

Mother, our train.

Bye now.

Come on.


You said you wanted to draw me.

Please. Don't.

I'm sick of this!

We're married.

You won't draw me.

I never cared about drawing.

I heard you wanted to study music.

Nor did I care about that.

I simply go on living
because I can't be bothered to die.

You're aimless.

Right now, you appear to be aimless too.

But you didn't the first time
I saw you. By the river.

Do you remember?

I was on my way to buy lipstick.

Going to buy lipstick
isn't what made you look so happy.

You'd better go.

You're not going to draw me.

What are you doing?

I love you. I've loved you for so long.

Just once. Just once is enough!

Please. I'll worship you.


It wasn't love that made me enjoy that.

I know for sure, because I tested myself.

Tested yourself?

Ochi? You slept with Ochi?

I did not.

Then who? Who did you sleep with?

I wondered what would happen
if I gave myself to someone I loved.

You should kill me.

Let's...move back to Tokyo.


Move back to Tokyo with me.

Me, you, and Makoto.
We'll go back to the way we were.

We'll forget about all of this.

Please, Sonoko.

Let's do that.

Yoko will meet you at Tokyo Station.

I'll do my best to join you as soon as I can.

Stay with your mother until then.

You'll be fine.

Once you see Makoto's face,
you'll forget all this.

What's wrong?

His umbilical cord...I seem to have lost it.


Yes. I'm sure I brought it here when we moved.

Then it must be somewhere. It'll pop up.

I wonder...

Say. Could you go to that Monju temple for me?


I want to get an amulet for Makoto.

That temple's ordinary.

Please. It's important.

Alright. I'll get the carriers too.

I missed you.

You should've...come earlier...

I didn't know. That you felt this way.

Those two hid it from me.

Not now...

Alright. I'll come as soon as I can.

Really? You'll really come?

I will.

You must go.

He'll be back soon.

Please don't blame Sonoko.

Upon reflection, it was my fault.

It seems that I was guilty of
oppressing her emotionally.

I cannot deny that I
placed her in a bar-less prison,

and continued to narrow her cell.

This confinement was obviously
too much to withstand

for a woman as free-spirited as Sonoko.

You've got a wonderful husband, and yet...

He's too weak-willed.
That's why she disrespects him.

She takes after her father.

Why are you laughing?
What's there to laugh about?

You must admit, it's rather amusing.

The greatest insult you can muster
is comparing me to your husband.

We can never live together, can we?

I'll leave Kitabayashi.

No. That's not what I meant.

Then what?


I gazed into an abyss...

...and it has cursed me.

We gazed into it together.



Sonoko, it's me.

May I come in?

Go ahead.

I told you that Ochi
couldn't leave Kitabayashi.

He's a cowardly bastard.

Isn't he?

In the end, you got the short end of the stick.

That's fine. I'm fine with it.

Come back to me.

Why not?

Ochi treats you this way,
but you still won't end it?

I'm sorry.

I won't agree to a divorce.
You're bound to me as my wife.

You can't bind my heart.

What of Makoto?

You have a responsibility as his mother.

I feel a deep regret.

If so, come back to me, for Makoto's sake.

It's just as Yoko said.

Cold blood runs through your every vein.

Listen. It's not my place to suggest this,

but would you two get married?

You two? Who do you mean?

Isn't it obvious? You and Yoko.


How can you say that?

You have no right!

Aren't you...and Yoko already...

Aren't you?

Yoko said she'd be happy if you come home.

If you won't, she wants to clarify things.

Did it feel good?

Did making love to Yoko feel good?

You have some nerve.

It's not like that.

Then what is it like?

Like I said...

Stop it. This is serious.

But it's so amusing.

How is this amusing?

I mean, Yoko merely wanted to
sleep with you too, so she did.

But you refuse to admit that.

You can't bring yourself to say it.

Women have urges too, and enjoy having sex.

A woman shouldn't say such things...

You're right. Yoko can't say it either.

She and I aren't alike.

Don't be indecisive. Marry her.

That would put me at ease.

You never...

...loved me, did you?


It seems as if every fastener
on your body is undone.

What's on your mind?

I'm wondering, is there really a difference?

Regardless of who I'm with,

my womb moans shamelessly.

You have another lover?

It was a once-only thing.

Once only?

If it was more than once,
feelings would get in the way.

Are you provoking me?
Because I won't leave Kitabayashi?

It's not.

How could you?

With a man you don't love?


That's something...
you don't have within you either.

I fell in love with you.

I think that's the truth.

But...it ended on our first night.

Wasn't it our beginning?

We've been intimate for years now.

Why not say you love me?

I will, if you feel that word
describes what we have.

I love you.

Are you angry?

Are we through?

You won't meet with me again?

If there's no love here, I should start paying.

See you next time.

What's wrong?

What's wrong?


Mother will be ash soon.

Hurry up and get married.

You truly want that?

You're happy, aren't you?

What about you? What will you do from now on?

Doesn't being alone scare you?


After I am dead and set ablaze,

and my frail white bones emerge,

will my womb be the only part of me
that remains unburned?

Eri Murakawa

Kento Hayashi Masanobu Ando

lzumi Fujimoto

Tomoko Mari ya

Based on the novel by Jakucho Setouchi

Screenplay Hisako Kurosawa

Directed by Hiroshi Ando

English subtitles by Don Brown