Like most of Naruse’s films, most of the characters are unhappy, and this is their default mode. But as the final sublime moments prove, it is possible to find small moments of grace and greater meaning within this existence. As such, for me personally, this is a great film with which to end the year. Although as meticulous and precise in its own way as that other great master of Japanese cinema, Ozu, Naruse’s style is nearly invisible and quite naked, all the more for us to feel intensely for these characters and their struggles, even though it may on the surface seem quite artless and mundane. And as presented in a beautiful transfer from Masters of Cinema, which includes a nicely written booklet with articles by Audie Bock, Catherine Russell, and Phillip Lopate, and insightful audio commentary by Lopate and Kent Jones, Repast never ceases to amaze with its nearly effortless sublimity, representing the art of cinema at its finest.
Repast is included in a box set which includes two of Naruse’s other 50's films, Sound of the Mountain (1954) and Flowing (1956). Taken together, they are an excellent introduction to one of cinema’s greatest artists.