#118: Floating Clouds

5evkaj4m71svrs9ocqyhtraqtah#118 – Floating Clouds, (浮雲), 1955, Mikio Naruse
jp

A married Japanese forester during WWII is sent to Indochina to manage forests. He meets a young Japanese typist and promises to leave his wife. He doesn’t and after the war, she turns up and the affair resumes.

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#335: When a Woman Ascends the Stairs

6jkfcpwmunx5rkkg16tppf4s0kk#335 – When a Woman Ascends the Stairs, (女が階段を上る時), 1960, Mikio Naruse
jp

Keiko, whom everyone calls Mama, narrates her story: she’s a hostess on the Ginza, 30, a widow. She describes life’s vicious cycle: acting cheerful around drunks, dressing and living well to convey confidence, needing money for these expenses and for her demanding mother and brother, and knowing she’s growing older. She’s of an age when she must choose: to seek marriage (difficult given her tarnished occupation), to be a kept woman, or to borrow money to buy a bar of her own. Each route has dangers, including investors demanding a return on their loans. Keiko has a quiet dignity that attracts men, but are they what they seem? Does she actually have choices?

#747: Lightning

i3tcgkbv2v7nr5ahijjcpucytzx#747 – Lightning, (稲妻), 1952, Mikio Naruse
Japan

Mikio Naruse’s second adaptation of a novel by Fumiko Hayashi stars Hideko Takamine, the director’s frequent muse, as bus conductress Kiyoko Komori, the youngest daughter in a family of squabbling half-siblings. All the children are products of different fathers, though they share the same mother: a tragically weak-willed woman named Osei. The familial tension only increases when the husband of one daughter dies and leaves behind a substantial insurance policy, so Kiyoko abandons them to their quarrels and makes a go of it on her own, though she finds she can’t leave her mother behind so easily.