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GINZA COSMETICS(GINZA KESHO) (director: Mikio Naruse; screenwriters: Matsuo Kishi/ based on the novel by Tomoichiro Inoue; cinematographer: Akira Mimura; editor: Hidetoshi Kasama; music: Seiichi Suzuki; cast: Kinuyo Tanaka (Yukiko Suji), Ranko Hanai (Shizue Sayama), Yuji Hori (Kyosuke Iwagawa), Kyoko Kagawa (Kyoko), Eijiro Yanagi (Seikichi Kineya), Eijiro Tono ((Hyobei Sugano), Yoshihiro Nishikubo (Haruo), Haruo Tanaka (Gonroku Shirai), Yoshio Kosugi (Eijiro Kasai); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Motohiko Ito; Criterion Collection/Janus; 1951-Japan-in Japanese with English subtitles)
It’s not the cheeriest of films, but it’s excellently acted and presented.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Gifted women’s director Mikio Naruse(“Late Chrysanthemums“/”A Woman’s Place”/”Wife, Be Like a Rose!“), always promoting working-class themes in his films, delicately helms this post-war subdued drama concerning the daily survival struggles of a middle-aged geisha, Yukiko Suji (Kinuyo Tanaka). The nice lady, taken advantage of by flawed men, works in the Ginza district of Tokyo and is a single-mom raising her son Haruo (Yoshihiro Nishikubo). It’s based on the novel by Tomoichiro Inoue. The screenplay is by Matsuo Kishi. It’s said that Naruse uses his own personal impressions of the Ginza to enhance the story’s setting.

It’s a low-key drama, that has no big moments, as it follows the giving geisha around for a few days. Her hum-drum life is closely observed and how her young son manages to be alone for so much of the time without her supervision. Her greatest hope is when she meets an intellectual young man, who sparks her neglected intellect. But the luckless geisha must move on when the romance never blossoms and she continues her quiet life of desperation.

It’s not the cheeriest of films, but it’s excellently acted and presented.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”