First published in 1963, Jakucho Setouchi’s “Natsu no Owari (The End of Summer)” was the “Fifty Shades of Grey” of its day: a best-selling novel written by a woman that viewed the unconventional love life of its 38-year-old heroine with the sort of matter-of-factness then considered daring. But the story, based on the author’s own experiences, was written with the plotless naturalism of the typical watakushi sho￣setsu (I novel), while its impact came less from its heroine’s sexual exploits and more from her absolute honesty.
Scriptwriter Takashi Ujita has included the book’s most dramatic bits, while indulging in relatively little creative tinkering with its structure. This faithfulness extends to the film’s period look, with Kumakiri and his staff venturing to Kakogawa in Hyogo Prefecture and Awajishima in the Inland Sea to capture the right Showa Era (1926-1989) atmosphere.
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