Mikio Naruse’s final silent film is a gloriously rich portrait of a waitress, Sugiko, whose life, despite a host of male admirers and even some intrigued movie talent scouts, ends up taking a suffocatingly domestic turn after a wealthy businessman accidentally hits her with his car. Featuring vividly drawn characters and an audacious commentary on politics and class in 1930s Japan, Street Without End is a grandly entertaining melodrama that brought Naruse deftly into the sound era. –The Criterion Collection
Mikio Naruse is one of the least known of Japan’s early master directors, both in the West and in Japan, yet he created some of the most moving, darkly beautiful works in Japanese cinema. Like Kenji Mizoguchi, Naruse showed an uncanny understanding for the psychology of women. Like Yasujiro Ozu, he preferred subtle shifts of character over broad strokes of plot. Unlike either of these early greats, however, Naruse’s vision of humanity was much darker and more clinical. He stripped all vestiges of hope or acceptance from his films, what remains is only a willful struggle to endure. His relentlessly negative view of human existence has resulted in Naruse’s often being labeled a nihilist.
Born in Tokyo, in 1905, Naruse was the youngest of three sons of a desperately poor embroiderer. Although he excelled in elementary school, his family could not afford to further his education. He was instead enrolled in a two-year technical school. There, he spent virtually all of his free time… read more
La vida de Sugiko, quién trabaja como mesera en un pequeño café, da un giro de 180° cuando es atropellada accidentalmente por un acaudalado hombre de negocios, quién decide hacerse cargo de la recuperación de la muchacha, con el consiguiente romance y problemas entre ambos. Detrás de su apariencia de logrado entretenimiento melodramático, este cinta de Mikio Naruse (su última película silente) resulta una corrosiva mirada critica a las desigualdades y el entorno social del Japón de los años 30.
Even Naruse didn't want to direct this melodrama. But despite an ordinary script (that other directors didn't want to touch) he makes good use of it with his directional skill & good performances. Naruse even adds a bit of social commentary about feudalism & family to keep his last silent film interesting.
An air of finality surrounds this melodrama from Naruse as it was his last picture for Shochiku studios and also his last silent film. A waitress is knocked down by a car driven by a rich mother's boy and as she recovers he courts her and they later marry despite the disapproval of his sister and mother. However, things don't run smoothly as the class divide can't be bridged and a life of unhappiness seems likely....