Imported 35mm Print


Kinuyo Tanaka, Isuzu Yamada, Hideko Takamine, Sumiko Kurishima,

A trio of Japan’s finest actresses—Kinuyo Tanaka, Isuzu Yamada, and Hideko Takamine—is featured in this revealing picture of traditional geishas facing the decline of their way of life and the specter of prostitution in the mid-1950s. Through the eyes of a maid (Tanaka) who is possibly the only one in the establishment to fully comprehend the situation, Naruse charts the machinations of Tsutayakko (Yamada), the proud mistress of the house, as she goes about trying to save it from becoming either a restaurant or a brothel—all the while denying that the end is at hand as she plays her samisan. Audie Bock wrote of the “condition of trapped awareness” in Naruse’s women. Based on a book by Aya Koda, whose episodic narrative style is ideally suited to Naruse’s plotless, anti-melodramatic approach, Flowing creates a marvelous atmosphere of togetherness among the women, all of whom live under one roof. But the security of camaraderie is illusory. In the language of the film, “It’s not what it seems; it’s very geisha-like.”

  • Toshiro Ide
  • Sumie Tanaka
Based On
  • a novel by Aya Koda

  • Masao Tamai
  • Japanese
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 116 mins
  • The Japan Foundation
  • Janus Films