In 17th century Kyoto, Osan is married to Ishun, a wealthy miserly scroll-maker. When Osan is falsely accused of having an affair with the best worker, Mohei, the pair flee the city and ... See full summary »
In the post-war, the sixteen year-old teenager Eiko seeks out the geisha Miyoharu in the district of Gion, in Kyoto asking her to be a "maiko" (apprentice of geisha). Eiko explains that her... See full summary »
The businessman Ogata Shingo works with his son Shuichi, who is his secretary, and they live together in the suburb with their wives Yasuko and Kikuko respectively. Shuichi has a love ... See full summary »
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 »
This is the story of Mama, a.k.a. Keiko, a middle-aged bar hostess who must choose to either get married or buy a bar of her own. Her family hounds her for money, her customers for her attention, and she is continually in debt. The life of a bar hostess is examined as well as the way in which the system traps and sometimes kills those in it. Written by
Would you laugh if I proposed to you?
[Keiko appears uncomfortable, remains silent]
I know. No need to answer. I just wanted to say it once. Pretend I never said it. Bye.
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Having watched and enjoyed Mikio Naruse's LATE CHRYSANTHEMUMS, I was hoping WHEN A WOMAN ASCENDS THE STAIRS would be of a similar quality. Looks-wise it is, but unfortunately the story in in this one is lacking, failing to present any truly sympathetic characters and instead making the film often dull and a chore to sit through.
The problem here lies with the protagonist, who just doesn't seem to be a very interesting character. Yes, her struggles in a male-dominated society have the potential to be interesting, but the film seems to constantly skip drama in favour of presenting humdrum, everyday-life style scenes. Certainly there was nothing here to grip or interest the viewer as in Naruse's earlier film.
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