When a Woman Ascends the Stairs / Floating Clouds / Late Chrysanthemums
The BFI presents three of Mikio Naruse’s finest films, now regarded as among world cinema’s greatest achievements.
“Naruse’s films celebrate, without extravagance, the lives of ordinary people struggling for something better than the hand fate has dealt them. Performed with quiet certainty by superb actors, shot and edited with a sure and relentless hand, they raise the ordinary and even the sordid to a quality near sublime.” Audie Bock, Artforum
When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Onna ga kaidan o agaru toki)
Japan | 1960 | 106 mins | black and white | Japanese language | Ratio: 2.35:1 (16x9) anamorphic
“Naruse’s magnificent 1960 melodrama. An elegant essay in black and white Cinemascope and tinkling cocktail jazz, this tale of a bar hostess’ attempt to escape her lot could give heartbreak lessons to Fassbinder and Sirk.” J Hoberman, The Village Voice
Floating Clouds (Ukigumo)
Japan | 1955 | 118 min | black and white | Japanese language | Ratio:1.33:1
“The elegance and indisputable hard punch of Naruse’s storytelling become immediately clear the moment the lovers kiss and the director cuts, mid-clinch, to an almost identical shot of them kissing in the past, an edit that suggests this is a passion that transcends even time and space.” Manohla Dargis, New York Times
Late Chrysanthemums (Bangiku)
Japan | 1958 | 97 mins | black and white | Japanese language | Ratio: 1.33:1
“It is something to see Sugimura counting money, and sticking a wad efficiently into her kimono top. When her heart has been broken one last time by an old lover asking for money, she burns his photograph in a scene of chilling finality.” Phillip Lopate, A Taste of Naruse
- Freda Freiberg, Japanese cinema expert: audio commentaries; video interview with Adrian Martin; essay.
- Paul Willeman: video and written essays.
- Barnard Eisenschitz: video interview with director Teruo Ishii, Naruse’s assistant.
- Adrian Martin: new essay.
- Theatrical trailer for When a Woman Ascends the Stairs.
- Fully illustrated booklet with essays.
Original aspect ratio
- 2 Europe (except Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus), Middle East, Egypt, Japan, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Greenland, French Overseas departments and territories