Sans aucun lyrisme surnuméraire ni débordement mélodramatique lacrymal, avec une étonnante actrice (Hideko Takamine) d'une époustouflante présence scénique, une œuvre solide et prenante qui évite adroitement tout jugement moral sentencieux et condamnation intempestive, pour se cantonner dans une efficace description quasiment entomologique d'un milieu sociologique spécifique. www.cinefiches.com
Melodrama at it's finest that's not merely a play on emotions, but a complex look at the place of women in post-WWII Japan and struggle to establish oneself outside of the subservience of a male dominated world. The struggle to decide how to basically live, and maintain virtue amidst a world of corruption. Naruse camera work isn't revolutionary, but still compelling with it's focus on the herione Keiko.
When a Woman Ascends the Stairs is often considered one of Mikio Naruse's best (sligthly beyond Floating Clouds) and it's one of my favorite movies from post-war Japan. It tells the story of the bar hostess Keiko who, as a mama-san, holds some authority and power within her society. She is facing a crossroad in her life; should she marry, or open her own bar?
This is one of my favourite Mikio Naruse films, and it just happens to feature Tatsuya Nakadai and Hideko Takamine onscreen together, two of my favourite Japanese film stars. I've re-watched this classic in memory of the late Keiko Awaji who passed away on January 11.
When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960) Onna ga kaidan wo agaru toki DIR Mikio Naruse Her soul was redeemed at the train station - by love, not money. _It had been a bleak ordeal, like a harsh winter. But the trees that line the streets can sprout new buds no matter how cold the wind. I too must be just as strong as the winds that gust around me._
A meticulous, quietly devastating slice of genteel squalor, in which the relationship between dignity and independence is not only inverse, it's perverse -- neither is really possible given the pressures of economic need and social expectation. The best outcome available for these women is that they accept and excel at the roles in which they find themselves cast, and have their faces ready at the top of the stairs.
I love the sparing, pointed use of first person voice-over narration to shade the formal beats of the film, never giving too much away and never existing merely to provide explication of Keiko's inner world. Each little monologue feels like a small contraction, a small tightening, the path narrowing.