For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.
820 Ratings

When a Woman Ascends the Stairs

Onna ga kaidan wo agaru toki

Directed by Mikio Naruse
Japan, 1960


When a Woman Ascends the Stairs might be Japanese filmmaker Mikio Naruse’s finest hour—a delicate, devastating study of a woman, Keiko (Hideko Takamine), who works as a bar hostess in Tokyo’s very modern postwar Ginza district, and entertains businessmen after work.

This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
When a Woman Ascends the Stairs Directed by Mikio Naruse

Critics reviews

The visual aspects of the film are defined by qualities of harmony, restraint and refinement, and hinge around Keiko. The predominant use of medium shots, lighting techniques, Naruse’s “invisible” and “rhythmic” editing style, and evocation of Film Noir caters to a masculine form of visual pleasure which the narrative itself suggests. Naruse’s flair for complex mise en scene combined with his skillful editing is second to none; a most perfect concoction of film style and narrative complexity.
June 13, 2015
Read full article
The script’s many explicit statements and restatements of theme leave little room for subtext; and, even with a voiceover available to help out, a good deal of exposition and authorial commentary is handed directly to the viewer in lengthy dialogue scenes… Takamine’s wonderful performance carries the film despite its shortcomings.
June 06, 2016
Read full article

What are people saying?

Related films