Three of Mikio Naruse's finest films, now widely regarded as among world cinema's greatest achievements. 'When a Woman Ascends the Stairs' (1960) is a heartbreaking tale of a middle-aged bar hostess's (Hideko Takamine) attempt to escape her existence set to a soundtrack of tinkling cocktail jazz and filmed in black and white Cinemascope. In 'Floating Clouds' (1955), based on the novel by Fumiko Hayashi, the elegance and indisputable hard punch of Naruses'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. This film is based on flashbacks, which tell a story of forbidden love between a forester (Masayuki Mori) and a typist (Takamine) during and after WWII. In 'Late Chrysanthemums' (1958), again based on works by Hayashi, Kin (Haruko Sugimura) is a retired geisha who has become a coldly efficient moneylender. Even her old colleagues are indebted to her. Then an old lover she remembers fondly shows up asking for money...
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: Japanese ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), English ( Subtitles ), SPECIAL FEATURES: 3-DVD Set, Booklet, Box Set, Cast/Crew Interview(s), Commentary, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Ukigumo / Floating Clouds: This film is based on flashbacks, which I'll ignore here for the sake of clarity. Married Japanese forester during WWII is sent to Indochina to manage forests. He meets a young Japanese typist and promises to leave his wife. He doesn't and after the war, she turns up and the affair resumes. He, who is a womaniser who takes women for granted, is cold, uses her for occasional sex and takes other lovers. She, while forced to become a mistress of a GI when she can't get a job, loves him and cannot give him up, even lending him money. In poverty, she becomes a mistress of a rich man, but gives him up when she cannot forget the forester. When the forester's wife, whom he never leaves, dies of disease, the forester takes a job far away. Despite his lack of interest, the woman, who is being pursued by the rich man whose money she stole, comes with him. Becoming ill on the journey, she continues with him, rather than rest and recuperate, obsessed by her constant fear that he will leave her. As she dies, he realises his mistake in rejecting her perfect love. Onna ga kaidan wo agaru toki / When a Woman Ascends the Stairs: Filmmaker Mikio Naruse takes a characteristic dour look at life in When A Woman Ascends the Stairs. The central character is a barmaid, who works day and night to avoid being thrown out into the street. She knows that, if she loses her job, the only profession open to her is the World's Oldest. But when the worst happens, the barmaid learns to l...Mikio Naruse Collection 3-DVD Set ( Ukigumo / Onna ga kaidan wo agaru toki / Bangiku ) ( Floating Clouds / When a Woman Ascends the Stairs / Late Chrysanthemums )