Ginza Cosmetics

Based on his own observations of Ginza life, Naruse made Tokyo's famed entertainment quarter a site for a classic study of a woman approaching middle age, treated with a subtle emotional quality and nuance that were typical of both Naruse and his star, Kinuyo Tanaka. She portrays a bar hostess, struggling to support a small child and still protecting her ne'er-do-well ex from his own failures. She allows herself to hook up with a rich patron only to repulse his sexual advances; a dream of escape with a young man who talks poetry similarly ends in nothing, thanks to the Sirkian intervention of her gap-toothed son. As in every Naruse film, there is home base (here, as often, a small backstreet) and there is the public sphere, teeming with its lonely types and brassy molls, its streets and cafes where a woman's life is, literally, negotiated.

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