7.3/10
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12 user 20 critic

Yoru no onnatachi (1948)

A mistress of a drug dealer in post-war Japan is shocked when she discovers that he is having an affair with her sister.

Director:

Kenji Mizoguchi

Writers:

Eijirô Hisaita (novel), Yoshikata Yoda (story)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Kinuyo Tanaka ... Fusako Owada
Sanae Takasugi Sanae Takasugi ... Natsuko Kimijima
Tomie Tsunoda Tomie Tsunoda ... Kumiko Owada
Mitsuo Nagata Mitsuo Nagata ... Kenzô Kuriyama
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hiroshi Aoyama Hiroshi Aoyama
Fusako Maki Fusako Maki
Kikue Môri Kikue Môri
Sadako Sawamura Sadako Sawamura
Ken Tanaka Ken Tanaka
Minpei Tomimoto Minpei Tomimoto
Kumeko Urabe Kumeko Urabe ... brothel-keeper
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Storyline

In the post-war Japan, Fusako Owada lives in the home of her mother-in-law with her baby that is ill while waits for the return of her husband from the war. When she learns that her husband has died and her baby also dies, she moves to another city with her neighbor Kumiko Owada to work as secretary executive for the opium dealer Kenzô Kuriyama. One day, she stumbles upon her missed sister Natsuko Kimijima that has returned from the Korea on the street and she learns that Natsuko works as a dancer in a night-club. Natsuko moves to Fusako and Kumiko's apartment and soon she has a love affair with Fusako's boss. However Fusako is secretly Kuriyama's mistress and upset, she vanishes. One day, a client of Natsuko in the night-club tells to her that he saw Fusako in the Red Light District. Natsuko that is pregnant decides to seek her sister out in the prostitution area. Will she find Fusako? Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

28 February 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mulheres da Noite See more »

Filming Locations:

Osaka, Japan

Company Credits

Production Co:

Shôchiku Eiga See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in Kenji Mizoguchi: The Life of a Film Director (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

 
good melodrama but not Mizoguchi's best
6 February 2010 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

Women of the Night is absorbing as a story of post-war malaise among women, of a lack of hope in their futures. It continues Kenji Mizogichi's body of work dedicated to showing women in a society that is perpetually against them, to greater or lesser degrees (usually greater, depending on time and place). While his final film, Street of Shame, is probably his best and most entertaining, this film does have some memorable moments. It tells of two women, one of whom finds out near the start of the film that her husband has died, and after this becomes a "fallen woman" by being a drug dealer's woman on the side. Another drifts into prostitution, or rather almost becomes it, and the two of them get swept up into a women's prison-cum-hospital. One of them, eventually, escapes (this is the most visually striking single shot in the film, by the way, tracking as she struggles across the wire fence).

It's slow moving, even for 73 minutes, though to be fair the American cut feels like it's been cut up, so a recommendation may be half-hearted by default (sometimes it's hard to tell, other times, it looks like an editor cut right into a scene just when it's about to get really good). The performances by Tanaka and Takasuhi, and the actress playing Kumiko, a friend of their characters, are all strong to the degree they're asked, and the climax of the film carries some real power even in the midst of the melodrama and the whole "maybe we have screwed up our lives and should go home" conclusion forced on an audience. But Mizoguchi's aim is, for the most part, met: give the audience a view of this underworld of women without solid footing, and ask why this really is the way it is when these women could be doing other things or working as opposed to just being married or like this. And at the same time make them all human, and not (too) stereotyped. It's ultimately hopeful, but some cynicism in the process goes a long way.


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