There is no denying the fact that One Wonderful Sunday is an exquisitely composed, gripping and sometimes frustratingly slow, micro-scale love story that unravels in the times marred by tumultuous and in a sense devastating social and political upheaval and change. The one essential feature that marks the experiences of the young couple on a Sunday, at times trying to engage in affordable recreation, and resorting to a mock rehearsal of their discernibly doomed dreams, is the persistent physical and emotional dislocation they have to grapple with. The landscape through which they pass is typically symbolic in the sense that it is marked by the charred ruins of an old world, interspersed with the enticing and glossy advertising signs indicative of an unavoidable transition to a new order. Amidst this confusing and unsettling background, the two lovers try to yearn for an emotional and mental space where their dreams could have some sort of relevance and scope. With the orphans haunting the ruins of a devastated Tokyo, the gumption of the broke and cold couple to somehow make the best of the grim situation in which they are placed, indeed grabs the admiration and fancy of the viewers, no matter the age or time in which they are placed.
This masterpiece by Kurosawa also brings out the historical relevance of those times in a circuitous and subtle way. Though nowhere in the movie one come across the allied troops, yet there presence lurks in the backdrop in the form of tell tale signs like a litter basket labeled “trash” placed unintentionally in one corner of the screen. These symbols of allied occupation do stand out as being imbued with multiple meanings, pointing towards irrevocable historical changes. Placed against this gargantuan scenario marking international level military and political plans, the musings of the young couple in the movie stand out as movingly innocent and somewhat depressing. In a