An essentially religious film about a young, self-sacrificing Catholic devotee, this true story by director Heinosuke Gosho might be too slow in the telling for most Western audiences. Maria Isabel Kitahara was converted to Catholicism by Basque nuns. After her conversion, she took on the task of helping out the poor who live in a large slum area on the outskirts of Tokyo. The dynamism and roughness of the "ragpickers" she helps stand in sharp contrast to her fragile, nearly ethereal presence. Whether from this unsavory environment or not, Maria contracts a serious illness that leads to tragic consequences.
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