NARUSE: THE UNKNOWN JAPANESE MASTER Complete Schedule
OCTOBER 24 - NOVEMBER 17 at New York's Film Forum
WHEN A WOMAN ASCENDS THE STAIRS‚ New 35mm Print!
(1960) Just-turned-thirty widow Hideko Takamine works as a bar hostess in an exclusive Ginza nightclub, remaining high-minded while dreaming of opening her own place, as round-heeled colleagues cash in and her skirt-chasing manager Tatsuya Nakadai cheers her on while admiring her from afar, amid suicides, her own ulcers, and marriage proposals. Could rich exec Masayuki Mori (Rashomon) be the way out? 1:00, 3:10, 5:20, 7:30, 9:40
WIFE New 35mm Print!
(1953) Unusual for Naruse, salaryman Ken Uehara is on the receiving end, as wife Mieko Takamine sleeps in, eschews housework, and even leaves hairs in his bento lunches, and who, when she finds out about his affair with his widowed secretary, seems to get even more unsympathetic. Based on a novel by Fumiko Hayashi. 1:00, 2:50, 4:40, 8:20, 10:10
OLDER BROTHER, YOUNGER SISTER New 35mm Print!
(1953) It's bad enough for a domineering rural dad to realize his family survives on the money from Mom's riverside tea stall and that his son, erstwhile classy intellectual Masayuki Mori, is turning into a tattooed brawler. But then eldest daughter Machiko Kyo (Rashomon) returns from the city sporting a pregnancy by a university student. Third and most acclaimed adaptation of a popular novel. 6:30
OCTOBER 26 (2 Films for 1 Admission)
APPROACH OF AUTUMN New 35mm Print!
(1960) Recently widowed Nobuko Otowa (Onibaba) re-locates for a job at Tokyo's Mishima Hotel, but her shy sixth-grader has trouble adjusting, preferring the company of his pet beetle - until he befriends the hotel manager's daughter. A rare and masterful focus on children for Naruse. 1:00, 4:30, 8:00
SUDDEN RAIN New 35mm Print!
(1956) Those little habits can sure get annoying after four years of marriage -- husband Shuji Sano reads at the table, wife Setsuko Hara clips recipes before he's finished the paper, etc. Then a niece's visit and those next-door newlyweds help to stir the pot. 2:40, 6:10, 9:40
DAUGHTERS, WIVES AND A MOTHER New 35mm Print!
(1960) In suburban Tokyo, a son of the Sakanishis dies, leaving his widow with a king-sized insurance payoff - and then the family descends, with backbiting, disasters and recriminations so horrific that the mater familias looks to check into a nursing home for the kids' sake, with only the widow herself with a shot at happiness. Color, Scope and an incredible all-star cast: Setsuko Hara, Hideko Takamine, Ken Uehara, Masayuki Mori, and Tatsuya Nakadai. 1:00, 3:30, 6:00, 8:30
FLOATING CLOUDS (aka DRILLING CLOUDS) New 35mm Print!
(1955) Amour fou in post-war Tokyo, as, in neurotic playing of almost painful intensity by Hideko Takamine, a woman who, knowing full well her lover's weakness and instability, sacrifices everything to follow him. As the lover, Masayuki Mori's enigmatic performance keeps the man's true feelings ambiguous until practically the final shot. The director's biggest commercial success and winner of a poll in Kinema Jumpo, Japan's leading movie magazine, as best of the year - even Ozu raved about it to his diary. 1:00, 3:30, 6:00, 8:30
FLOWING New 35mm Print!
(1956) Young star geisha Hideko Takamine complains, while head-of-the-house Isuzu Yamada (Throne of Blood) always looks on the bright side, but quietly observing maid Kinuyo Tanaka (Ugetsu) is the only one who actually realizes the inevitable end of the world of the geisha in a harsh post-war Tokyo. With the three super-stars leading an incredible cast - including two of the Seven Samurai - with Yamada showing her actual shamisen prowess and a wordless final reel. 1:00, 3:20, 5:40, 8:00
ANZUKKO New 35mm Print!
(1958) Shizue Natsukawa, with distinguished novelist dad So Yamamura's encouragement, sends suitor after suitor to the rejection pile, until she finds two winners in a row: a young veteran and an aspiring novelist. But does she pick the right one? 1:00, 3:10, 5:20, 7:30, 9:40
SUMMER CLOUDS (aka HERRINGBONE CLOUDS) New 35mm Print!
(1958) Naruse's first film shot in the country, and in color & Scope, introduces a rare sweep and burst of fresh air. And in glamorous Ozu star Chikage Awashima -- cast against type as a war widow working her husband's small plot -- a strong protagonist (even by Naruse standards) walking knowingly into an affair with married reporter Isao Kimura (Seven Samurai). With a stunning conclusion, both tragic and upbeat. 1:00, 3:35, 6:10, 8:45
A WIFE'S HEART New 35mm Print!
(1956) Every time Hideko Takamine raises enough yen for that coffee shop, her family scarfs it; then her husband gets jealous of her bank loan officer. With Toshiro Mifune guesting in his second and last Naruse picture. 1:30, 5:15, 9:00
HUSBAND AND WIFE New 35mm Print!
(1953) Bumped from family lodgings when brother decides to marry, Yoko Sugi and husband Ken Uehara end up lodging with eccentric Rentaro Mikuni, but even as Uehara resents the strange magnetism of Mikuni, his wife announces a blessed event. But do they want to have it? 3:30, 7:15
LATE CHRYSANTHEMUMS New 35mm Print!
(1954) While her three former geisha colleagues still have hopes in their children and in life, hard-bitten retired chrysanthemum Haruko Sugimura (Japan's original stage Blanche Dubois) concentrates on loansharking and wheeling-and-dealing real estate. But when she gets a letter from old lover Ken Uehara, guess who acts like a gushing schoolgirl? Expert combination of three Fumiko Hayashi stories, with a geisha's torching of a photo of an old flame a dramatic highlight. Rated one of the year's 10 Best by Andrew Sarris and others when it finally had its U.S. theatrical premiere (at Film Forum) in 1985. 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, 7:30, 9:30
GINZA COSMETICS (1951) Kinuyo Tanaka knocks herself out to support her child by working as a Ginza bar hostess, but then has little time for the kid himself. Never a mistress for money, she may be finding a way out in the most curious of coincidences, but... A final sequence "explains the film's peculiar title, and delivers a quiet blow to the heart" (James Quandt). 1:10
A WANDERER'S NOTEBOOK (aka HER LONELY LANE, DRIFTING) New 35mm Print!
(1962) Real-life novelist Fumiko Hayashi (adapted six times by Naruse) slugs it out with dire poverty, repeated affairs with losers, crummy day jobs, and snot-nosed male chauvinist publisher rebuffs. In a "luminous performance" (Variety), Hideko Takamine embodies the author of some of her and Naruse's greatest hits. Sun 3:00, 5:30, 8:00 Mon 1:00, 3:30
NOT BLOOD RELATIONS
(1932) Back from Hollywood (!), Shinyo Nara teams up with her gangster brother to get back the daughter she abandoned seven years before, but now must deal the girl's loving stepmother. Screenplay by Kogo Noda, Ozu's perennial collaborator. 7:45 Live piano accompaniment by Steve Sterner.
WIFE! BE LIKE A ROSE (aka KIMIKO)
(1935) As her marriage looms, Sachiko Chiba (for a time, Mrs. Naruse in real life) tries to reconcile her estranged parents, Mom a poetess who writes yearning haiku about her estranged husband - whom Chiba has to track down way out in a comically portrayed boondocks, complete with a surprisingly and goodhearted mistress. Kinema Jumpo winner as best Japanese film of its year, the first U.S.-released Japanese talkie, and the first to be reviewed in The New York Times. 6:00, 9:20
NOVEMBER 8 (2 Films for 1 Admission)
TALE OF THE ARCHERY AT THE SANJUSANGENDO New 35mm Print!
(1945) After a renowned archer commits harakiri because he's lost the big tournament, innkeeper Kinuyo Tanaka takes in his boy and sees to his training so he can compete in the next big contest. Naruse's first period film, shot in Kyoto while Tokyo burned. He was never sure if it was released. 1:00, 4:40, 8:20
SONG LANTERN New 35mm Print!
(1943) Disowned by Dad after his rudeness causes the death of an old man, cocky young Noh star Shotaro Hanayagi (Mizoguchi's Story of Late Chrysanthemums) descends to becoming a street musician, until he meets the daughter of guess who? 2:40, 6:20, 10:00
MOTHER New 35mm Print!
(1952) "Mother, are you really happy?" wonders daughter Kyoko Kagawa in voice-over, as Kinuyo Tanaka battles to keep that dry cleaning business going. A true slice of life, with the potential mawkishness of the haha-mono ("mother picture" genre) elided, and the foundation of Naruse's European reputation. "One of Naruse's best films." Donald Richie and Joseph Anderson, The Japanese Film. 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, 7:30, 9:30
YEARNING New 35mm Print!
(1964) War widow Hideko Takamine, fed up with trying to keep the family store open against supermarket competition and in-law meddling (including feckless brother-in-law Yuzo Kayama), heads for home, but, in one of the greatest train journeys in the history of cinema, receives a shocking surprise topped by a shocker climax. 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, 7:30, 9:30
SOUND OF THE MOUNTAIN (aka THE THUNDER OF THE MOUNTAIN) New 35mm Print!
(1954) Luminous Ozu regular Setsuko Hara, trapped in a loveless marriage with Ken Uehara, can find solace only in the warmth and understanding of her father-in-law (a magnetic So Yamamura). Adapted from Nobel prize-winner Yasunari Kawabata's most ambitious novel (and shot near his actual home with sets to match), this is one of the director's greatest works. "One of my all-time favorites. I love this picture." - Naruse 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, 7:30, 9:30
LIGHTNING New 35mm Print!
(1952) Family? Does head-screwed-on-right bus conductor Hideko Takamine have family? Does she ever: three endlessly squabbling half-siblings (all from different fathers) try to set her up in a marriage that might profit them. And then there's the mother. Time to head for the suburbs. 3:30 only
REPAST (aka A MARRIED LIFE) New 35mm Print!
(1951) Sometimes even marriage for love doesn't seem to pan out, as Osaka housewife Setsuko Hara, pining for Tokyo, spectates as now-dull hubby Ken Uehara takes his runaway niece to all those places she hoped to go. But after her own breakaway to the big city, is reconciliation possible? From a novel by Fumiko Hayashi. Sun 1:30, 5:20, 7:20, 9:20 Mon 1:30, 3:30
NOVEMBER 14 (2 Films for 1 Admission)
THREE GIRLS WITH MAIDEN HEARTS (1935) In Tokyo's Asakusa entertainment district, a bossy mom forces all three daughters into becoming street shamisen players. But one girl's attempt to break away inadvertently hurts a sibling. Naruse's first talkie, based on a story by Nobel laureate Yasunari Kawabata. 6:00, 9:30
STREET WITHOUT END (1934) Hit by a car on her way to meet her fiance, a coffee shop waitress falls for the handsome and rich driver. But when his snooty family looks down on her, she starts to re-examine her options. 7:40* Live piano accompaniment by Steve Sterner.
NOVEMBER 15/16 (2 Films for 1 Admission)
THE WHOLE FAMILY WORKS (1939) With their combined salaries totaling a lousy 111 yen, there's just no wiggle room for the Ishimura family - two parents and nine children -to allow their most talented to go to electricians' school. Individual crushed by the group? Intriguing neo-realism, as Japan's national polity geared up for war. Tue 1:10, 5:10, 9:10 Wed 2:50
TSURUHACHI AND TSURUJIRO (1938) Almost a caricature of the classic backstage story of the stars who battle even though they're made for each other -- this time with duo legends Isuzu Yamada (Throne of Blood) and ballad-singing Kazuo Hasegawa (Gate of Hell) -- but done with an emotional restraint rare even for the Japanese films of the period. Tue 3:20, 7:20 Wed 1:00, 5:10
NOVEMBER 16 (2 Films for 1 Admission)
TRAVELLING ACTORS New 35mm Print!
(1940) Hey, even actors playing the front & back of a horse have their pride! And when their snooty backer decides to dump them for the real McCoy, this time it's war. "One of my personal favorites." - Naruse. 7:00, 10:00
APART FROM YOU (aka AFTER OUR SEPARATION)
(1933) At the seaside, a teenager, ashamed that mom's a geisha, drifts into delinquency until befriended and straightened out by a young geisha apprentice. But where can their relationship go? 8:30* Live piano accompaniment by Steve Sterner.
SCATTERED CLOUDS (aka TWO IN THE SHADOW)
(1967) In Naruse's final film, it's not bad enough that pregnant Yoko Tsukasa (Samurai Rebellion) is left widowed when pretty boy Yuzo Kayama flattens her husband with his car. Then, after he's declared innocent, Kayama keeps wanting to tell her how he's sorry. But after a while, she starts to listen. 1:00, 3:10, 5:20, 7:30, 9:40