Mikio Naruse

Yûzô Kawashima & Mikio Naruse – Yoru no nagare AKA Evening Stream (1960)

A woman and her daughter are in love with the same man, a chef at the restaurant that the mother manages. He is slightly crippled from frostbite in his years in Siberian labor camps and considers himself “already dead.” Read More »

Mikio Naruse – Maihime AKA Dancing Girl (1951)

Mariko Okada (in her film debut) plays a young ballerina prodigy whose parents seem to be trapped in a loveless marriage. The mother has been seeing a family friend for 20 years, but it’s obvious that they feel more than just friendship for each other, causing suspicion and unease with her son. The father throws himself into work, until one day, it all boils over… naruse-style. Read More »

Mikio Naruse – Hikinige aka Hit and Run (1966)

In 1966, Mikio Naruse made two films that featured elements of the suspense/thriller genre. According to IMDb, The Stranger Within a Woman came first in January. Then in April, this film was released

Here’s Michael Kerpan’s review of the film:
In Naruse’s next to last film, he returned to cinemascope format, but stayed with black and white film. This is once again, in terms of plot, a bit of a shocker. Soon after we meet Kuniko (a young widow, played by Hideko Takamine) and her much-beloved young only son, the boy is run over by Kinuko (played by Yoko Tsukasa the rich spoiled wife of an automobile executive). Kinuko, it turns out, was distracted at the time of the accident because her companion in the car, a hunkish younger man who is her lover, had just told her of his plan to soon begin a far-away job. Kinuko tells her husband of the accident (but not the precipitating cause), and he orders the corporate chauffeur (Yutaka Sada, who was also the unfortunate chauffeur in “High and Low”). Luckily for him, he gets off with a small fine and a suspended sentence. Read More »

Mikio Naruse – Haru no mezame AKA Spring Awakens (1947)

“Haru no mezame” was Naruse’s third full-lenth post-war film — and a delightful surprise. It turns out to be a slice of life film, centered around a couple of years in the life of a rural high school girl — played by 16 year old Yoshiko Kuga (future star in Portrait of Madame Yuki, Banka, Equinox Flower, Good Morning) — still a tiny bit plumpish — and not full grown. Almost no plot to speak of — just normal events of school and home life and hanging around with friends. Read More »

Mikio Naruse – Okasan aka Mother (1952)

Synopsis:
Based on a girl’s prize-winning school essay on the subject of “My Mother”. Mizuki Yoko fashioned one of her most moving scripts. Upon the death of her husband the mother (Tanaka Kinuyo) runs the family laundry by herself. She is helped by her first daughter (Kagawa Kyoko) bust must send her second daughter to live with relatives because she cannot afford to keep her. A real shomingeki with lots of heart
— Donald Richie, A Hundred Years of Japanese Film. Read More »

Mikio Naruse – Iwashigumo AKA Summer Clouds (1958)

Synopsis:
This ensemble piece recounts the lives of a family of farmers by interweaving several different storylines. Holding these stories together is the central figure of a young war widow torn between maintaining her independence and the necessity of remarrying. This is a familiar predicament for Naruse’s heroines, but the film represents a change of pace for the director in many other ways. For one thing, it is his first widescreen color film. Also, while the typical Naruse film takes place in the city, even if its characters often journey into the countryside, here the setting is resolutely rural. The result traces change in postwar Japan (another typical Naruse concern) from the point of view of the farming peasantry, as land reform and economic growth exacerbate the generation gap between restless youngsters and their tradition-bound elders. Read More »

Mikio Naruse – Kotan no kuchibue AKA Whistling in Kotan (1959)

“Hashimoto Shinobu wrote the script based on Ishimori Nobuo’s original story, which won prizes including the first Mimei Literature Award. Depicts an Ainu girl and her younger brother living in a Hokkaido kotan (Ainu village), as they overcome discrimination and poverty.” Read More »