In Tokyo in 1888, Kikunosuke Onoue, the adoptive son of an important actor, discovers that he is praised for his acting only because he is his father's heir, and that the troupe complains ... See full summary »
The Yagyu family's elder son sends an old and cheap looking pot to his young brother, ignoring that the pot contains a map showing where it was hidden a treasure of a million ryo. He tries ... See full summary »
On her way to meet her boyfriend, Sugiko is hit by a car and hospitalized. When she doesn't arrive at the meeting place, her boyfriend believes she has betrayed him, and he returns to his ... See full summary »
Not a masterpiece, but a great demonstration of a director's craft.
Ukigumo (1955), directed by Mikio Naruse, was shown as "Floating Clouds" at the Dryden Theatre in Rochester as part of a Naruse retrospective. This is Naruse's best-known film, and it stars his muse, the outstanding actor Hideko Takamine. The film is adapted from a novel by Fumiko Hayashi. Seven or eight of Naruse's films were based on novels by this author. Finally, many of the Toho studio supporting players appear in this movie, as they do in all of Naruse's films. In summary, "Floating Clouds" is classic Naruse.
As in many Naruse films, the theme is grim. Japan is still struggling in the aftermath of World War II. The economy is slow, and the pall of defeat still hangs over the country.
Although we think of the war as totally tragic for everyone involved--especially everyone Japanese--this isn't accurate. Hideko Takamine's character (Yukiko) had a passionate and sincere wartime romance with an engineer when they were both stationed in an area away from the combat zone. It becomes clear--ten years later--that this love affair was the high point of both their lives. Masuki Mori plays Kengo, the engineer who loves Yukiko, but who will never marry her.
The tragedy of the film is that both Yukiko and Kengo have known happiness, but realize they will never know it again. Such happiness as they can grasp is undone by the harsh realities of financial and physical problems.
This movie is not exactly a masterpiece, but it is the perfect film if you can only see one work by Naruse. It defines his themes, demonstrates his unique skills and extraordinary expertise, and showcases the best actors in his company. It's a movie worth seeking out and watching.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?