• A Woman Ascends the Stairs

    1960. Japan. Mikio Naruse. 111 min.

Monday, April 21, 2008, 6:15 p.m.

Theater 1 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1), T1

  • A Woman Ascends the Stairs

    1960. Japan. Directed by Mikio Naruse. . Screenplay by Ryuzo Kikushima. Music by Toshirô Mayuzumi. With Hideko Takamine, Masayuki Mori, Reiko Dan. In one of Naruse's true masterpieces, Keiko is a serene widow who supports herself as a bar hostess in Tokyo's Ginza district. Proudly determined despite mounting debt and fears about her fading beauty, she ascends the dreaded narrow stairs each night to make a living—the film's leitmotif—knowing that the path toward getting remarried or owning her own bar is paved with sacrifice. Keiko's inner monologue is reflected in Toshirô Mayuzumi's coolly modernist score: a skittish xylophone and percussive piano theme as her thoughts race with uncertainty; a Stéphane Grappelli–like violin melody when her fortunes seem to rise; and pools of melodramatic string music when despair sets in. In Japanese; English subtitles. 111 min.

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