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Late Chrysanthemums (1954)
"Bangiku" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  27 November 1985 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 542 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 12 critic

What is the life of a Geisha like once her beauty has faded and she has retired? Kin has saved her money, and has become a wealthy money-lender, spending her days cold-heartedly collecting ... See full summary »

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Title: Late Chrysanthemums (1954)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Haruko Sugimura ...
Kin
Sadako Sawamura ...
Nobu
Chikako Hosokawa ...
Tamae
Yûko Mochizuki ...
Tomi
Ken Uehara ...
Tabe
Hiroshi Koizumi ...
Kiyoshi
Ineko Arima ...
Sachiko
Bontarô Miake ...
Seki
Sônosuke Sawamura ...
Sentaro
Daisuke Katô ...
Itaya
Haruna Kaburagi
Yoshiko Tsubouchi
Yaeko Izumo
Tsuruko Mano
Toshiko Nakano
Edit

Storyline

What is the life of a Geisha like once her beauty has faded and she has retired? Kin has saved her money, and has become a wealthy money-lender, spending her days cold-heartedly collecting debts. Even her best friends, Tomi, Nobu, and Tamae, who were her fellow Geisha, are now indebted to her. For all of them, the glamor of their young lives has passed; Tomi and Tamae have children, but their children have disappointed them. Kin has two former lovers who still pursue her; one she wants to see, and the other she doesn't. But even the one she remembers fondly, when he shows up, proves to be a disappointment. Written by George S. Davis <mgeorges@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

widow | rumor | neighbor

Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

27 November 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Flor do Crepúsculo  »

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User Reviews

 
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30 July 2007 | by See all my reviews

For me, "Late Chrysanthemums" was interesting not only because it was my first film of Naruse I completely enjoyed, but because it was technically as modern and innovative as his 30s work I've seen. This doesn't mean innovative editing in the way Godard would introduce it with "Breathless" in 1959, but quite the opposite.

The editing was as fluent as in the best of Hollywood films from the 30s/40s, but at the same time incredibly fitting regarding the way he was telling his story. Unlike them, it never purposefully accentuated anything or tried to make itself "invisible" but, together with the cinematography, made me feel like I was traveling on a gentle stream, constantly feeling the waves beneath me, like a gentle stroke of the hand or the almost unnoticeable rocking of a cradle. In this sense the film was comparable to Ozu's and Mizoguchi's work, but somehow even more subtle.

What was so modern was the fact that the editing seemed almost a character in itself, similar to the remarkable camera-work in Dreyer's Ordet (1954) or Vredens dag (1943) which is revealing us a deeper understanding of the film and its characters rather than simply showing them to us.

I feel that Naruse's editing and cinematography are the most interesting aspects of his films, elevating the stories significance beyond the obvious. The wonderful sets and settings shouldn't be forgotten either! I found the story itself to be rather conventional.

The narrative and its characters were introduced in a very interesting way, and I thought that the first half of the film was setting up a delicately ingenious spectrum of emotions and interrelations. Unfortunately the second half of the film and its resolution were rather didactic and and formulaic compared to the set up (though by itself it would have been perfectly fitting in any other - less complex

  • film). Somehow I felt that he failed a bit in trying to dissolve the


many layers he had woven. Maybe he should have kept them intact. This criticism might seem a bit harsh to a viewer of this film, especially since the procedure is again reminiscent to the way Ozu dealt with the plot in his films. Unfortunately I haven't yet the feeling that Naruse was able to elevate the story and its characters in his films' conclusions in a similarly sublime fashion. The best efforts I have seen to date - Ukigumo (Floating Clouds / 1955) and Midaregumo (Scattered Clouds / 1967) - sustained the energy he had built throughout the narrative, while delivering poignant and resonant endings.

This is already more than most director's are able to do, and in my opinion the basis for a real mastery of the cinematic medium. In this regard, and considering the resonance of the last two films I've seen by him, he may have already become one of my favorites.

The only problem I have at the moment, is where I'm going to see more of his films on the big screen.


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