Late Chrysanthemums

One of Naruse's most compelling character studies is a portrait of four aging women who contemplate the harsh loneliness of their lives and the ongoing instability in their relationships with men and money. The placid exterior of the professional geisha, the perfect Naruse foil, no longer serves them. At the center is Kin (Haruko Sugimura), whose visits to her former friends Nobu, Tamae, and Tomi to collect money they owe her occasion wicked humor and rueful memories. In a fascinating narrative structure, we get two films for the price of one: the past, vividly recalled in dialogue, unfolds like a lurid melodrama (but one directed by someone else), involving failed double suicides, lovers worth following to Hiroshima, mixed drinks in Manchuria, and men who tipped well. The present is terse, ruthless, and anticlimactic. “I don't like men or movies,” says Kin. “I just watch my money move around.”

This page may by only partially complete. For additional information about this film, view the original entry on our archived site.