There is forceful rhetoric about the war effort, but Kinoshita seems more interested in the leisurely delineation of the community and in the creative potential of cinema: in one Ophulsian scene, footage of Penang is projected on to the window of a railway carriage as the woman who once loved the dead man recalls her dreams of living with him abroad.
This early effort shows Kinoshita already in fine form, both as a quick-witted director of comedy and a wry observer of human nature. The film affirms the collective values of the nation while reflecting Kinoshita’s personal values of dignity and decency. So while he was satisfying the censors, he was also hinting at the humanist individualism that would come to define his cinema.
[Kinoshita's] 1943 debut, Port of Flowers, is perhaps the lightest of his wartime films, but it's also the most effortlessly entertaining... What elevates Port of Flowers is Kinoshita's sensitive regard for his characterizations.