Flowing/ Nagareru (Mikio Naruse, Japan, 1956)

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flowing

My first Naruse film and  it is a revelation: an exquisitely beautiful movie. The river flows at the beginning and the end. Time moves on. But the world is changing. Business gets the upper hand. Family helps but at a price. A restaurant will take the place of the geisha house. There is no room for geishas in the modern world except on the other, grubbier side, of the river. The performances are very moving, with Haruko Sugimura, the coarse and unfeeling daughter from Tokyo Story (Yasujirō Ozu, Japan, 1953), here a stand-out as a drunken fifty-year old geisha. The compositions are a work of art; and the end, where the maid knows all that the characters sense but don’t yet fully realize, made me well up a little.

José Arroyo

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