Scattered Clouds: The Films of Mikio Naruse

1/12/06 to 2/18/06

  • When a Woman Ascends the Stairs, February 11|© 1960 Toho Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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Past Films

  • Yearning

    • Saturday, February 18 19:00

    A war widow keeps the family store and her heart in check long after she should have remarried. "Whatever else it is-a critique of the economics of the family, among other things-Yearning is also a poem on the beauty of Hideko Takamine, in the next-to-last of the 17 films she did with Naruse."-Boston Phoenix

  • Scattered Clouds

    • Saturday, February 18 21:00

    In Naruse's last film, made when he already knew he was dying, "a woman recently widowed finds herself forced from all sides to embark on a new relationship before she's emotionally ready-a fateful mishap of timing . . ."-Boston Phoenix

  • Her Lonely Lane

    • Thursday, February 16 19:30

    A revealing biopic, based on the journals of Fumiko Hayashi, the writer Naruse most frequently adapted, and starring his favorite actress Hideko Takamine, who gives an "amazingly detailed, unglamorized portrait of the writer . . . imbued with a strong passion for life and writing."-NFT, London

  • The Approach of Autumn

    • Sunday, February 12 16:30

    A young widow and her shy sixth-grader relocate to Tokyo. "A rare and masterful focus on children for Naruse."-Film Forum

  • Daughters, Wives, and a Mother

    • Sunday, February 12 18:10

    A stellar cast in a saga of a comfortable suburban family's unraveling after the family home is mortgaged.

  • Anzukko

    • Saturday, February 11 19:00

    So Yamamura shines as the kindly father of a young woman trapped in a disastrous marriage.

  • When a Woman Ascends the Stairs

    • Saturday, February 11 21:10

    Essential Naruse. "An elegant essay in black-and-white CinemaScope and tinkling cocktail jazz, this tale of a bar hostess's attempt to escape her lot could give heartbreak lessons to Fassbinder and Sirk."-Village Voice

  • Summer Clouds

    • Thursday, February 9 19:30

    The country makes an unusual setting for Naruse, known for his city films, and the lyrical, open-air feeling of this color, 'Scope film almost hides the defeat that permeates the story of a woman trying to be independent of her traditional farming family. Chikage Awashima, better known for her Ozu roles, stars.

  • Sudden Rain

    • Sunday, February 5 16:30

    Everyday life of a marriage: "A masterpiece in miniature. . . . Naruse's complex touches are brilliant."-IFC News

  • A Wife's Heart

    • Sunday, February 5 18:20

    Money and family are persistent Naruse themes, here revolving around Hideko Takamine as a young wife.

  • Flowing

    • Saturday, February 4 19:00

    It's hard to find a more impressive trio of actresses than Hideko Takamine, Kinuyo Tanaka, and Isuzu Yamada. Naruse's tale of geishas in decline is "a tangle of subtle relationships. . . . Quietly brilliant filmmaking."-Village Voice

  • Floating Clouds

    • Saturday, February 4 21:15

    This epic story of wartime lovers separated by a wretched peace is a richly evocative portrait of postwar Tokyo and an endlessly fascinating character study. Revered in Japan as the ultimate masterpiece of the director's career, and a high point for star Hideko Takamine.

  • Sound of the Mountain

    • Thursday, February 2 19:30

    Mistreated wife Setsuko Hara forges a close and complex relationship with father-in-law So Yamamura in Naruse's adaptation of the famous Kawabata novel. "Exquisite."-Boston Phoenix

  • Late Chrysanthemums

    • Sunday, January 29 18:15

    A compelling character study of four aging geishas contemplating their troubles with men and money. "A gem. . . . With delicate, unobtrusive strokes, Naruse evokes both the humor and bitterness in his characters' dilemmas."-S.F. Chronicle

  • Older Brother, Younger Sister

    • Sunday, January 29 16:30

    Extraordinary performances by Machiko Kyo and Masayuki Mori in a "tense study of suppressed emotions and rivalries . . . Abandoning his characteristic restraint, Naruse creates a melodrama of harrowing intensity."-Film Center, Chicago

  • Husband and Wife

    • Saturday, January 28 19:00

    This sequel to Repast centers on the domestic troubles of a young couple forced to share a flat with an eccentric friend. As always, Naruse depicts lower-middle-class life with impressive frankness and psychological insight.

  • Wife

    • Saturday, January 28 20:45

    Another affecting look at the everyday irritations of marriage, but with an atypical twist for Naruse-this time, the husband is the more sympathetic character.

  • Lightning

    • Thursday, January 26 19:30

    Adapted from a Fumiko Hayashi novel, and starring Naruse's favorite actress, Hideko Takamine, as a pawn in her relatives' various schemes, this major work illuminates one of the director's key themes: entrapment within the family system. "A superbly wistful rendering of Hayashi's lowlife characters to the screen."-Audie Bock

  • Repast

    • Sunday, January 22 17:30

    Naruse's first adaptation of a Fumiko Hayashi novel eloquently portrays a crumbling marriage. Setsuko Hara stars.

  • Mother

    • Sunday, January 22 19:25

    Naruse takes a complex, astringent approach to sentimental material for this story of a widow (Kinuyo Tanaka) struggling to maintain the family business.

  • The Song Lantern

    • Saturday, January 21 19:00

    A harsh tale set in the world of Noh theater, this film has chiaroscuro cinematography that would make von Sternberg envious.

  • A Tale of Archers at the Sanjusangendo

    • Saturday, January 21 20:55

    Filmed during the final months of WWII, this Edo-period drama departs from Naruse's usual contemporary themes to portray the son of a great archer determined to become a champion bowman.

  • Hideko the Bus Conductress

    • Thursday, January 19 19:00

    Hideko Takamine stars as the teenage ticket-taker for a bus line that has seen better days in this charming comedy, the first of her 17 films with Naruse.

  • Ginza Cosmetics

    • Thursday, January 19 20:15

    "Not to be missed. Kinuyo Tanaka, best known for her roles in the films of Mizoguchi, is sensational in this portrait of a Ginza bar hostess."-Cinematheque Ontario

  • Traveling Actors

    • Sunday, January 15 19:25

    This atypically comic outing for Naruse follows an itinerant kabuki troupe, focusing on a pair of actors who play the two halves of a horse-until a real animal is hired for the part.

  • Not Blood Relations

    • Sunday, January 15 17:30

    Judith Rosenberg on Piano. With a script by Kogo Noda, writer of many Ozu films, this is a compassionate and psychologically acute portrait of a woman trying to win back the daughter she gave up for adoption long ago.

  • Street Without End

    • Saturday, January 14 19:00

    Judith Rosenberg on Piano. With its sharp class awareness, feminist concerns, and richness of melodramatic incident, this silent saga about the loves of a waitress is classic Naruse.

  • The Whole Family Works

    • Saturday, January 14 21:15

    Naruse's quiet drama of a family's struggle to make ends meet during the Depression and the war with China, whose social costs are never mentioned but keenly felt.

  • Nightly Dreams

    • Thursday, January 12 19:00

    Bruce Loeb on Piano. Naruse's early melodrama of a woman abandoned is a virtuoso display of camerawork and startling montage. With Flunky, Work Hard!, a lower-middle-class comedy that veers abruptly into tragedy.

  • Tsuruhachi and Tsurujiro

    • Thursday, January 12 21:00

    Naruse brings emotion and wit to the story of the relationship between a samisen player and a ballad singer during the Meiji era. "A musical treat."-NFT, London