YEARNING (Mikio Naruse, 1964)

One of Mikio Naruse’s most realistic and piercing works, and one that is intermittently beautifully Ozuvian, Midareru examines the unraveling of a family whose old-fashioned market cannot compete with the new supermarket across the street—an impersonal corporate-owned consumer playground that can offer identical items at a much lower price. Japan’s new killer competitive spirit is […]

SOUND OF THE MOUNTAIN (Mikio Naruse, 1954)

Three bad marriages interlock in Yama no oto, based on Nobel Prize-winning Yasunari Kawabata’s novel, which Yôko Mizuki adapted. Director Mikio Naruse, perhaps overwhelmed by the novelistic character of the script, has not realized, precisely, a film, although a summary meeting by the two main characters in a Tokyo park, exceptionally fluent, knocks one’s socks […]

LATE CHRYSANTHEMUMS (Mikio Naruse, 1954)

“Money is everything,” someone remarks in Bangiku, Mikio Naruse’s masterpiece based on three stories by Fumiko Hayashi: “Bangiku,” “Suisen” and “Shirasagi.” Postwar Tokyo; Japan suffers a depressed economy. Four retired geishas are depressed also on other grounds: their youth and beauty, and hopefulness, have faded. Indeed, Okin faces no financial crisis; a landowner, landlord and […]