This film from director Kiyoshi Kurasawa is a gem. The story shows how the man of the house affects his whole family. His two boys bow to the authority of their father and his wife is submissive. His authority is built on his sense of self so, when he loses his job, it is not just his self- esteem that crumbles.
As a good middle class father he is unused to the hardships that follow and he starts by hiding his predicament from his family. His days are spent searching for work and spending time with an old friend who, also out of work, uses a facility on his mobile phone to fool people into thinking he is in demand from its frequent ringing.
His wife suspects that something has changed and follows him only to be disappointed by what she sees. Their older son joins the military and the younger boy wants piano lessons. His father does not want him to have the money for lessons but the son takes lessons in secret using his lunch money.
This is a story of a family unravelling with nobody seemingly able to prevent it. All members of the family are sympathetically drawn and the ending leaves a feeling of ‘if only’.