Directed by Mikio Naruse
Written by Fumiko Hayashi, Toshirô Ide, Sumie Tanaka and Sumie Tanaka
Cast: Hideko Takamine, Akira Takarada, Daisuke Katô, Keiju Kobayashi, Kinuyo Tanaka, Mitsuko Kusabue, Noboru Nakaya, Yûnosuke Itô, Jun Tatara, Masao Oda, Takeshi Katô and Tomoko Fumino
The life of the once famous poet Fumiko Hayashi. From years in endless poverty to her rise to greatness and fame.
Fumiko Hayashi’s life is stuck in a rut. Fumiko’s literary talents are the only thing that truly provides her joy to her otherwise suffering life. It is quite the literal portrayal of the starving artist. Poverty and starvation proved to be her only loyal companions as her love life brings only further misery. Fumiko is far from a high-spirited person, but rather a person whose temperament never rises beyond her stern and somber exterior. She is an old soul wanting a better life. Fumiko’s innate ability for great insightfulness is not only indicated of her writing ability but the narrative’s existential overtone as well.
The narrations and the dialogues of Fumiko is a cutthroat poetic reminder of her dim but pragmatic worldview. Starving artists are far from a unique topic in the medium of films but the execution here is poignantly heart wrenching and inspiring. Fumiko isn’t some kind of a wide-eyed artist which makes her cynical outlook towards life rather refreshing. A lot of her misery is self-inflicted by getting into a relationship with sleazy men.Fumiko is aware of it, but Fumiko’s loneliness compels her to find a lover. Yet, even this desire could be a superficial one as it appears only handsome men attract her romantic interest.
While the narrative operates on this neverending cycle of misery, it never loses its focus of shedding light on Fumiko’s character. Fumiko’s grinding experiences allows her to transmit some worthy words of wisdom. When it hits end, A Wanderer’s Notebook becomes a sharp character study that is like Fumiko’s poetry itself poverty-ridden but always looking headlong into the future.