Young Gen and her brother Hekiro live with their father and stepmother. Due to the stepmother's severe rheumatism, it's Gen who does most of the work around the house. She’s also unceasingly loyal to her brother, a good-for-nothing rebel incapable of avoiding trouble. Their mother, a pious Christian who feels the rest of the family doesn’t really accept her, often laments her poor health. The father never really listens to his family's troubles, content to dole out platitudes when not remaining silent. The family's fragile relationships only begin to heal when Hekiro becomes seriously ill. Kon Ichikawa is as non-judgemental as one of the songs playing at the hospital, its lyrics referencing "The sins of the parents, the sins of the children…". The film is narrated exclusively from Gen's perspective, who oscillates between obedience and defiance, yet is still unable to escape the family which determines her life. Ichikawa chose a muted colour palette for this family drama, in which the stifling atmosphere of the family home is contrasted with the promise of freedom offered by nature.