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Naruse: Volume One (Repast / Sound of the Mountain / Flowing) [Masters of Cinema] [DVD]

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Product Features

  • Full Length Audio Commentary on SOUND OF THE MOUNTAIN by Kent Jones and Phillip Lopate with Audio Discussions on REPAST and FLOWING.
  • 184-Page Booklet containing essays, director biography, and detailed discussion of each film

Product details

  • Actors: Ken Uehara, Setsuko Hara, Yukiko Shimaza, Yoko Sugi, Akiko Kazami
  • Directors: Mikio Naruse
  • Format: Box set, PAL
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Eureka Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Dec 2006
  • Run Time: 275 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000I5XN7O
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 76,918 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Three films by Japanese master filmmaker Mikio Naruse. 'Repast' (1951) is set shortly after World War II, and tells the story of a struggling marriage between salaryman Hatsunosuke (Ken Uehara) and his wife Michiyo (Setsuko Hara). The repetitive tedium of Michiyo's domestic life is brought into focus by a visit from Hatsunosuke's niece, Satoko (Yukiko Shimazaki ) on whom Hatsunosuke lavishes much attention. Adapted from a novel by Kawabata Yasunari, the first Japanese author to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, 'Sound Of The Mountain' (1954) is one of Naruse's best-known and most respected films, typifying his preferred genre of shomin-geki (films about the daily lives of ordinary people). Set in the ancient seaside town of Kamakura, Kawabata's home, the film depicts the increasingly close relationship between a childless young woman, Kikuko (Setsuko Hara), and her father-in-law, Shingo (So Yamamura), to whom she turns as her own marriage, to the neglectful and philandering Shuichi (Ken Uehara), disintegrates. The more Shuichi destroys his marriage, the closer Shingo and Kikuko become. 'Flowing' (1956) was released in the year that prostitution was outlawed in Japan. The film explores the inner workings of a changing world, as traditional geishas faced the impending decline of their hidden way of life and the looming spectre of prostitution. It depicts the story of a widow, Rika (Kinuyo Tanaka), who is forced to work for a living and becomes a maid in a struggling Tokyo geisha house, where Tsutayakko (Isuzu Yamada ), its proud mistress, tries to save the house from becoming either a restaurant or a brothel. It is through Rika, a surrogate for the viewer, that we are introduced to the various geishas, who drink and fight, worry over the lack of clients, and attempt to stave off imminent extinction.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 62 people found the following review helpful By HJ on 12 Nov 2007
Repast (1951) - a young wife disillusioned by her mundane life of housework has to decide whether to leave her emotionally unresponsive husband.
Sound of the Mountain (1954) - a young wife considers leaving her drunken philandering husband but bonds with her sympathetic father-in-law
Flowing (1956) - a diligent woman gets a job as maid in a declining geisha house run by a geisha coming to terms with being past her prime.

This is a sumptuous box set with 3 films plus commentaries & a book (& I mean book not booklet) containing essays by authorities like Audie Bock & Catherine Russell. Clearly Masters of Cinema are pulling out all the stops in making a case for Naruse as one of the great auteurs. Indeed each of these films is undeniably brilliant, however I can see why Naruse has previously failed to appeal to Western audiences the way Ozu, Mizoguchi, Kurosawa & co have done. Naruse's subject of post-war everyday family life is similar to Ozu's, but Ozu has a distinctive "formalist" style & "Buddhist" sense of resignation that makes his work seem understated, appealingly Japanese and yet universal. Naruse's films by contrast are more conventional 1950s "women's films", melodramas or whatever term you prefer. In fact Naruse's portrayal of family relationships is probably more complex - and darker - than Ozu's or Mizoguchi's and the position of women is treated in a more subversive manner. Even if you are averse to melodrama, Repast & Sound of the Mountain are extremely accomplished & thought provoking.
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One year ago, I bought the BFI 3-disc box set ( Late Chrysanthemums, Floating Clouds, When a Woman ascends the Stairs ) - a gem.
So, considering it as a sort of Naruse II collection, I could not withstand buying now the present Eureka Naruse I box set - rare and, alas, rather expensive. It contains three major Naruse films from the fifties.
REPAST ( 1951 ) is, essentially, a great Setsuko Hara film. Michiyo, a desparate housewife, tries to escape the flatness of boring patriarchal everyday existence. When Satoko, the young seductive niece of her husband, parachutes into the dreary Osaka household, the ensuing complications will set off Michiyo's get-away to her Tokyo family. A dead end. Naruse, obeying the TOHO authorities, will send her back to her husband.
SOUND OF THE MOUNTAIN ( 1954 ), the director's personal favourite, is an adaptation of a Kawabata novel. The central triangle : Ageing Shingo ( So Yamamura ), his daughter-in-law Kikuko ( Setsuko Hara ), and his son Shuichi ( Ken Uehara ).
There is great reciprocal affection between Shingo and Kikuko, counterbalancing Shuichi's cold neglect and robust philandering.
The novel concentrates on Shingo's inner life. The film concentrates on Kikuko's womanhood. A kind of pubescent elf. Ageing Shingo's attraction ( recall the "House of the Sleeping Beauties" ! ) as well as Shuichi's repulsion ( he needs 100-percent-women ) clearly stem from her "purity". Kikuko enjoys Shingo's masked desire, and the interplay of mutual bondage.
In the final scene, Shingo "gives Kikuko free". We feel her pain, whereas he seems unaffected. Naruse has outplayed Shingo, a rival.
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By sunrisespacelab on 14 Feb 2014
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This OOP MoC Naruse box is sheer beauty. A must have for everyone who wants to dive deeper into the Japanese classic films. Naruse is lesser known than Kurosawa, Mizoguchi or Ozu but he is unique and can stand next to these masters. As you can see the prices for this box is going sky high but i can assure you it is worthwhile to buy this before it is completely gone. Suffice to say i cannot recommend this one enough. To put on the shelf next to the beautifu book The Cinema of Naruse Mikio: Women and Japanese Modernity and the BFI Mikio Naruse Collection.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By HAN XIAO on 10 April 2013
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