ByFebruary 19, 2007
The posthumous international triumph of Mikio Naruse is one of the most unique corrections in film history. During his lifetime (1905–69), Naruse toiled away at his craft largely unsung, though . . . Read more »
When a Woman Ascends the Stairs might be Japanese filmmaker Mikio Naruse’s finest hour—a delicate, devastating study of a woman, Keiko (played heartbreakingly by Hideko Takamine), who works as a bar hostess in Tokyo’s very modern postwar Ginza district, who entertains businessmen after work. Sly, resourceful, but trapped, Keiko comes to embody the conflicts and struggles of a woman trying to establish her independence in a male-dominated society. When a Woman Ascends the Stairs shows the largely unsung yet widely beloved master Naruse at his most socially exacting and profoundly emotional.