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Superb acting and reminiscent cinematography mark the Milkwoman, (Itsuka Dokusho Suru Hi).

Its snail-paced presentation, with flashback and hallucinatory sequences, enables the viewers to appreciate the scenic town of Nagasaki, the subplots about the inhabitants, and the poignant love story of the central characters- Minako and Keita who both lived a quiet, routinary, and unassuming life. The 50-year old spinster, delivers milk, works at a local supermarket, and spends her evenings by reading or with an aunt and her husband stricken with Alzheimer's disease. While Keita lives with and cares for his terminally ill wife, and works in the Bureau of Children's Affairs. The film is a study of loyalty and self-sacrifice, of opportunities missed and options not taken, and of a middle-aged couple¶s long suppressed love reunited through a dying wife¶s intervention. Through contrasting episodes, it also provides insights on the milkwoman¶s worldthe traditional attitudes of older women and Minako¶s frivolous/ flirtatious colleagues, gossip sessions and photo-album reminicences, and a social malaise shown in the employees¶ reluctance and Keita¶s persistence to rescue two boys from their addict mother, highlighting the inadequacy of Japanese child welfare policies and negative effects of privacy laws on social services.

It is ironic that when they are finally reunited and eventually forced to come to terms with their past, Keita claims that it was not really their parents¶ scandalous affair that drove him away but when Minako laughed at his drowning incident in high school, which the latter cannot even recall. The next day, he drowned while saving one of the neglected boys. Although Fate deals again a severe blow to the lovers, they are not totally defeated- Keita dies with a smile, while Minako serenely accepts his death, resigns to being alone, finds solace in her books, and continues to bring milk to his empty house.