One of the best Naruse films I‘ve seen so far, Three Sisters with Maiden Hearts tells the story of three siblings forced to work as street musicians by their demanding mother. This early talkie may be downbeat but it’s also tinged with hope. It’s quite formally experimental, with much camera movement, which Naruse was not known for. I hope someone releases it on DVD.
Mother sends them nightly to play the samisen in cheap restaurants, where they're heckled and pawed by male drunks. The eldest turns tricks and runs away; the middle one's about to die of exhaustion; the youngest, Ma's favorite, dances in a floor show. Also, three tiny girl trainees bullied by mother, one of whom, sick with fever and delirious, cries out: "Please Mister, could you buy me some food?" A masterpiece.
A film that explores the life of three women musicians, and their relationship with a dominating mother, which is both serene, and very sad, as emotions are torn, and relationships falter. Wonderful use of classical samsen performance in smokey bars as well as a 30's vaudeville style adds a richly expressive level to the plight of all the women. Needs a restoration from Criterion please. One of Naruse's great works.