A few days in the life of a quiet geisha, single mother of a young, smart boy, in the lively Tokyo quarter of Ginza. A woman devoted to other people's needs, she will end by taking part ... See full summary »
Uptight man and hot wife rent a room from a laidback colleague. The colleague and wife get on like a house on fire, while the husband is alternately jealous and sulky. Marital strife ... See full synopsis »
Otsuta is running the geisha house Tsuta in Tokyo. Her business is heavily in debt. Her daughter Katsuyo doesn't see any future in her mothers trade in the late days of Geisha. But Otsuta ... See full summary »
Three sisters earn money for their bossy mother by being samisen street musicians. This means mainly playing a banjo type instrument for tips in bars. A number of loosely linked episodes ... See full synopsis »
A woman marries, gives birth to a stillborn child, and divorces, falls in love with a hotel-keeper, only to find herself subordinated to his drive for success, takes up with a tailor who cannot console himself with her strong personality.
Woman can't find a decent job, meanwhile being dumped by her boyfriend and writing on the side. people say her writing on poverty is good, but she can't sell it and continues with dead end ... See full synopsis »
Not one of the director's best films, but of his films of this era this is the one that most implicitly cites the war as the major source of its characters' miseries. The social class is higher than is common for Naruse - not only are the characters comfortably middle-class (no one seems to be suffering economically in this film, except a former ballet teacher turned bus driver), but there isn't even any talk of lost relatives. The war caused the main character to give up dancing, and ruined her talented daughter's chance to study abroad and to make a real career of ballet. There is also the mention of how the war "destroyed the fabric of Japanese society," as well as the highlighting of the confused notions of "freedom" - the adoption of American ideas that to this day sit uneasily in Japan - in the post-war world.
Unusually, much of the film centers around the world of ballet, and even contains a number of ballet sequences. I went into it with the mistaken idea that it was based on Kawabata Yasunari's famous story "The Dancing Girl of Izu," but apparently the source is a more modern Kawabata story I haven't read. It's a handsome, if not tremendously distinguished film, but just about anything directed by Naruse is worth seeing.
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