For Apart from You, Mikio Naruse turned his camera on the lives of working women. This gently devastating evocation of women’s limited options in Depression-era Japan was a critical breakthrough for the director.
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I wasn't expecting this to be that fantastic, of course it is Naruse, but often his earlier films lack an edge that is so prominent in his later work. However, I am delighted to say that 'Apart From You' is a masterwork of silent cinema. Incredibly moving and profound, I was left speechless at the end and nearly shaken to tears. 5/5
My version had no soundtrack, so I listened to Grouper's album Ruins while I watched it, which I think might've imbued it with even more crushing sorrow than was there to begin with. I'm still pretty certain it was great though.
I really want to smack the son in the head for being such a shit. Like other Naruse, it's very humanistic and sympathetic. Humor is used sparingly to break up the dramatic tension; and anyways, that's life: sad/funny. I wasn't too fond of the score on Criterion's release of the film. A melancholic film like this would have benefited from more strings and less piano and xylophone(?).
some startling close-ups. the rapid cutting between the aging geisha's knife and a younger geisha's serpentine dance facing a light projector is rhythmic and moving. traditional dictums of purity bog this down
Huge upgrade over No Blood Relation. Naruse forgoes the frenetic camera and focuses on composition. The plot also suits him a lot better. The film really takes off in the second half where we're transported to a beautiful coastal town and emotions go from sweet to sour. The young geisha in this is so good but too bad she's the only character with any complexity. I hate goodbyes :(.