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When a Woman Ascends the Stairs

  • Drama
  • 1960
  • Mikio Naruse
  • 110 mins
  • PG

Summary

A middle-aged bar hostess, constantly in debt, is faced with numerous social constraints and challenges posed to her by her family, customers and friends.

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Review

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Following the career of an ageing bar hostess as she struggles to stay out of debt in 1950s Tokyo, this moving film from director Mikio Naruse ranks among his best. A contemporary of Ozu, Naruse was always interested in women and work; here the two are elegantly combined in Hideko Takamine's graceful heroine Keiko, a widowed hostess in her 30s facing a stark choice between a marriage of convenience or opening her own bar. Trapped in a male-dominated system and burdened by financial necessity, Keiko's plight captures the dead-end decadence of the red-light district and the price tag that comes with it. Full of intimate intensity and stark pessimism, this is a heartbreaking drama from a Japanese director whose greatness has rarely been acknowledged on these shores.

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Credits

Cast

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Keiko YashiroHideko Takamine
Matsukichi SekineDaisuke Kato
Nobuhiko FujisakiMasayuki Mori
Junko InchihashiReiko Dan
Kenichi KomatsuTatsuya Nakadai
GodaGanjiro Nakamura
MinobeEitaro Ozawa
YuriKeiko Awaji

Crew

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DirectorMikio Naruse

Details

Theatrical distributor
BFI
Released on
2007-06-29
Languages
Japanese
Formats
Black and white
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